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Palestinian village targeted by 'Jewish extremists' as cars and mosque vandalised

Messages sprayed on the walls of buildings in Jish included, "Jews awaken" and "Stop assimilating”
A resident of Jish village stands next to a slogan sprayed by Israeli settlers saying 'Stop assimilating' (Arab48 news)

A Palestinian village in northern Israel woke up on Tuesday morning to find racist slogans aimed at Arabs and Muslims sprayed on the walls of its mosque and scores of cars vandalised.

Israeli police said the slogans indicated that the attackers were “Jewish extremists” and described the incidents in Jish as “nationalistic hate crimes”.

A small village comprised predominantly of Christians as well as Muslims in the Upper Galilee near the border with Lebanon, the inhabitants of Jish hold Israeli citizenship.

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Messages sprayed on the mosque wall and another building included: "Jews awaken" and "Stop assimilating.”

Elias Elias, the head of Jish council, told AFP that the tyres of more than 150 cars had been slashed and that it was not the first such attack on the village.

“I can only imagine what would happen if things like this would have been sprayed on a synagogue in the US or Europe,” he said. “The whole world would be in an uproar.”

The Arab Joint List, a political alliance that represents Palestinian citizens of Israel, issued a statement condemning the attack.

“The police bear responsibility for being soft with these fascist gangs that carry out these low actions,” it said.

“And we see it as a direct result of the incitement machine led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for years, and which is increasing now amid the election campaign and the renewed attack on the legitimacy of Arab citizens and their political representatives.”

Netanyahu, who faces an election on 2 March, condemned the attack only from his Arabic handle on Twitter, saying: "We will arrest the law breachers and apply the rule of law on them. We will not accept any attacks on our citizens."

'Price tag' attacks

Last month, Israeli settlers set fire to a classroom in the occupied West Bank village of Einabus, and torched a mosque in the village of Sharafat, a suburb of occupied East Jerusalem, writing anti-Arab slogans on the building's walls.

Such acts of vandalism by Israeli settlers against Palestinian communities are known as "price tag" attacks and are used to intimidate residents and assert Jewish supremacy in territories Israel has militarily occupied since 1967.

The attacks have become increasingly common in the West Bank, with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reporting that the number of documented incidents rose from 140 in 2017 to nearly 500 in 2018.

In addition to slashing car tyres and painting anti-Arab slogans, “price tag” attacks often include assaults on Palestinians, acts of arson against properties and sacred places, and the cutting down of trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.