Vandals use graffiti, damage Palestinian olive trees in suspected 'price tag'

Latest incident takes place near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin; 30 trees damaged by vandals; earlier this week, US State Department criticized Israel for largely not prosecuting attacks by “extremist Jewish settlers.”

Price tag attack in Umm Al-Fahem (photo credit: PANET.CO.IL)
Price tag attack in Umm Al-Fahem
(photo credit: PANET.CO.IL)
Vandals sprayed "Arabs are thieves" and "price tag" and damaged 30 young olive trees in a suspected price tag attack near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin. The vandalism was discovered by Palestinian residents on Saturday.
Police opened an investigation into the incident. 
“Price tag” is the term used to describe acts of vandalism by extreme Right-wing Jews, generally directed at Arabs, to protest government policy.
Earlier this week the US State Department criticized Israel for falling short in the prosecution of price tag offenses by "extremist Jewish settlers" against Palestinians.
Though such attacks began in the West Bank, over the past few months there has been a marked increase in price tag incidents within the Green Line. Just since December there have been six attacks, with property damage and anti-Arab graffiti reported in Jaljulya, Umm el-Fahm, Kafr Akbara, Kafr Kasim and Baka al-Gharbiya, and an incident in Fureidis that occurred this past week.  
In the Fureidis incident, graffiti reading, “Shut down mosques, not yeshivot,” was sprayed on the outside of a mosque, and inside, the vandals spray-painted a Star of David. They slashed the tires of cars belonging to residents. 
MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) called the price tag phenomenon a "racist cancer" on Saturday, saying that it was spreading in Israeli society and that it could end up hurting everyone. Freij made the comments at a cultural event in Petah Tikva, Israel Radio reported. 
Frej also criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for being almost completely silent in the face of the price tags, according to the report. He said that Netanyahu's silence, and the failure of the police and the Shin Bet to deal with the incidents, could lead to a "dangerous reality of fear and hate."
Netanyahu spoke out against price tags in a meeting with Arab, Beduin, Druse and Circassian Likud Party activists on Wednesday. The prime minister called the vandalism at the mosque in Fureidis “outrageous.”
“We will catch those responsible,” Netanyahu said. “This is a central goal for us because [the acts] go against our values.”