‘Expel or kill’: Racist attacks target Palestinian Israeli town after far-right election triumphs
Dozens of cars had their tires punctured and some sprayed with racist tags in a Palestinian Israeli town on Wednesday evening, as Israel's far-right political party celebrated successes in a parliamentary vote held earlier this week.
The acts of vandalism took place as far-right parties looked likely to enter parliament following Israel's fourth election in two years. The far-right Religious Zionism, an electoral list consisting of three parties running as a "technical bloc", is poised to win six to seven seats in Israel's Knesset according to exit polls.
Representatives of the Meretz Party - a left-wing, social-democratic and green political union - blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the attacks, which took place in the town of Kafr Qasim.
Meretz's head, Nitzan Horowitz, drew a line between the vandalism and the election of Ben Gvir's extreme-right Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party, which Netanyahu wants as a partner in his coalition.
"Dozens of vehicles were spray-painted and punctured. For what? Why? Blind hatred, sick racism. And those who give it backing are the favoured partners of the corrupt one," Horowitz said, referring to Netanyahu who is facing trial for alleged corruption.
Attacks against Palestinian villages and property, often referred to as "price-tag" campaigns, are a regular occurrence in the West Bank but are less common in Palestinian towns in Israel.
Those accused of the attacks are often members or sympathisers of a party led by Ben Gvir's, which advocated for the expulsion of "disloyal" Palestinian Israelis and run in the elections as part of the Religious Zionism bloc.
Violence toward Palestinians spiked in recent months following the death of 16-year-old settler Ahuvia Sandak in December during a police chase. The car in which Sandak was riding in crashed after he and several others allegedly hurled rocks at Palestinians.
On 20 March, Israeli settlers stormed the Palestinian town of Beit Iksa, near Jerusalem, torching two cars and spray-painting graffiti that read "Greetings from Ahuvia", with a Star of David drawn next to it.
Earlier this month, an 11-year-old girl from the Palestinian village of Madama, near Nablus, was seriously wounded and had to be treated for injuries to her head after settlers stormed the village.
In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Atef Hanaysheh, a 42-year-old Palestinian man after he reportedly threw stones at them during a protest against settlement activity in the village of Beit Dajan near Nablus.