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West Bank vehicle torched in ‘price tag’ attack

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07:21 PM January 1st, 2013

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January 1st, 2013 07:21 PM

HEBRON, Palestinian Territories–Suspected Jewish extremists have torched a vehicle in a West Bank village and scrawled racist graffiti on a nearby wall, Palestinians and Israelis said Tuesday.

The pickup truck was totally destroyed, and a tractor belonging to the same owner was damaged by flames in the incident at Beit Ummar village, north of the city Hebron.

The slogans “Price tag,” “A good Arab is a dead Arab” and “Today in property, tomorrow — lives” as well as “Revenge from Yitzhar” were spray-painted on a nearby wall.

Yitzhar is a West Bank settlement known for its hardline residents and frequent confrontations with Palestinian neighbours.

Price tag is a euphemism for revenge hate crimes by Israeli extremists.

Initially carried out in retaliation for Israeli moves to dismantle unauthorized settler outposts, the attacks tend to target Palestinian property. The perpetrators are rarely caught.

Police said on Tuesday they had launched an investigation into the Beit Ummar incident. An army spokesman said it “considered the incident severe”.

In the northern West Bank, meanwhile, Palestinians from Qusra and settlers from the nearby Esh Kodesh outpost threw stones at each other on Tuesday.

Palestinian security sources said about 20 settlers arrived at Qusra and threw stones at the residents’ homes. They left after the villagers confronted them.

Residents said the same stone-throwers also damaged dozens of their olive trees. Confrontations broke out again, before the army stepped in to disperse them.

The Esh Kodesh settlers said they had attempted to block Palestinians from ploughing fields to which both sides claim ownership, and that border police intervened to halt clashes.

The army had informed the settlers the Palestinians would be allowed to plough fields adjacent to Esh Kodesh for three days, prompting the residents to “block them with their bodies,” they said in a statement.

“This is not the first instance of (Palestinians) taking over land,” said the statement. “This is a preparation for a third Intifada, and the security forces better prepare well for it.”

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