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Israeli extremists set fire to Palestinian vehicles in northern Israel

May 24, 2017 12:09 P.M. (Updated: May 24, 2017 4:08 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Suspected Israeli extremists set fire to two vehicles and sprayed “price tag” graffiti on a nearby building in the Palestinian town of Ara in northern Israel early Wednesday, reportedly because a sit-tin tent was established in the area to support hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that unknown assailants sprayed the words "price tag" -- the term used by right-wing extremist Israelis to describe attacks they carry out on Palestinians and their property -- on the wall of a home in Ara, and that the two vehicles were torched.

No one was reported hurt in the attack, and an investigation has been launched into the incident, she added.

Israeli news site Ynet reported that police suspected that attack was in response to the sit-in tent, one of many to have been established across the occupied territory and Israel in solidarity with the ongoing mass prison hunger strike that has entered its second month running.

The owner of the vandalized house and vehicles in Ara, Asam Younis, recounted Wednesday's attack to Ynet: "At about 2:30 a.m., I heard a loud explosion. I opened the window and saw two of my cars on fire. I immediately left my house and managed to get the third car out of the way (of the fire)." Yunes said that he then noticed the price tag graffiti on the wall of his home.

"This is serious. Today they're damaging cars, (but) if authorities don't work professionally (to solve these cases), then it's very possible that tomorrow people could get hurt," Ynet quoted him as saying.

Two weeks ago, Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat found racist and Islamophobic graffiti sprayed on several vehicles, and a similar incident occurred the same day in the northern Israeli city of Nuara.

Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians.

In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have been accused of cracking down Palestinian communities inside Israel in the form of punitive action such as housing demolitions, rather than protecting Palestinian citizens of Israel from criminal violence.
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