Israeli-Arab village hit with racially motivated attack

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The tires of 28 cars were slashed and graffiti including “Arabs out” were sprayed on walls in the Arab-Israeli village of Abu Gosh.

Abu Gosh, an Arab-Israeli town located near Jerusalem, has not been victimized with such hate-filled graffiti in many years, according to reports.

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The early Tuesday morning attack is believed to be racially motivated, and police have opened an investigation. Other graffiti read “racism or assimilation.”

One of the 28 cars whose tires were slashed belongs to former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg, who left his car for repairs.

“This act by a small group will not change the residents of Abu Ghosh. We love the Jewish people and the State of Israel. We know that this is the act of a small group which seeks to destroy the good relations, but we are stronger than them,” Abu Gosh Mayor Salim Jaber told Israeli President Shimon Peres later on Tuesday.

“The events last night in Abu Ghosh, spraying of hate graffiti against the residents and slashing of tires is racist behavior which crosses a red line. We utterly condemn any expression of racism and vandalism. The residents of Abu Ghosh are dear to my heart and to the State of Israel, they are symbols of coexistence,” Peres said.

The attack comes just two days after Israel’s security Cabinet labeled price tag attackers as an illegal organization but stopped short of calling them settlers. The new classification approved at a meeting late Sunday night will make it easier for the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of such attacks, according to reports.

“Price tag” refers to the strategy that extremist settlers and their supporters have adopted to avenge Palestinian attacks on Jews and for settlement freezes and demolitions. Several price tag attacks in recent months also have targeted Christian sites.

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