Dozens of slashed car and private bus tires and sprayed graffiti slogans on vehicles and buildings declaring “Expel or Kill” and adorned with the Star of David were discovered on Thursday morning, March 25, in the Arab-Palestinian city of Kafr Qasim in central Israel. Thursday’s attack was the seventh hate crime perpetrated there in recent years, Al-Ittihad and Zo Haderech have reported.
Incidents of vandalism and attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and in Arab communities in Israel are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, as they purportedly come in response to some perceived offense to the “sensibilities” of their extreme right Jewish perpetrators. While arrests of the terrorists behind such attacks have been exceedingly rare, Israeli rights groups lament that convictions are even more so, with the overwhelming majority of charges in such cases being dropped either before or when they are brought to trial. Many of the alleged suspects in such cases have been represented by the Kahanist lawyer and politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, the head of Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), who was elected to the 24th Knesset this week as part of the Religious Zionism slate, that far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly requested an audience to support during an electoral campaign visit.
Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) deplored Thursday’s attack and attributed it to “blind hate and open racism,” claiming that “those who support such acts are the preferred coalition partners of the corrupt prime minister” of Israel.
Settler violence toward Palestinians has spiked in recent months following the death of 16-year-old settler Ahuvia Sandak last December in a car crash that occurred while police were chasing the car in which the youth was riding together with several others suspected of hurling rocks at Palestinians.
Last week the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa near Jerusalem was vandalized in a hate crime attack in which two vehicles were damaged and the Hebrew-language message “regards from Ahuvia” and a Star of David were spray-painted on a nearby wall. Earlier this month, a group of masked settlers assaulted a Palestinian family in the West Bank, pelting them with rocks, in an attack the family captured on video. On March 2, windows of three homes and two cars were smashed by rocks in the West Bank Palestinian town of Hawara.