A village in the central West Bank has been left vandalised after the two suspects apparently sprayed graffiti on a wall and slashed tyres on more than 20 cars at a checkpoint near the city of Al-Bireh. The hooded vandals caught on CCTV footage are still to be identified. The authorities have started an investigation.
The graffiti read “Closed-off military area traitors choose to harass Jews”, which is understood to be a reference to the current unrest in the Yitzhar settlement south of the city of Nablus, where illegal settlers built wooden structures. Earlier this week, Israeli soldiers declared the hill to be a closed military area. They ordered that no one could stay there except for the six to eight families already on the outpost. This was followed by a series of violent clashes as settlers from Yitzhar attacked and threatened Israeli soldiers patrolling the area.
In response to the evacuation order, a group of 30 settlers threw stones at the Israeli soldiers and slashed the tyres on their vehicle. Ynet reported that one soldier was hurt.
According to Haaretz, the army’s order followed reports of settler attacks and agricultural terrorism in the area as Palestinian farmers began this year’s olive harvest. The attacks were mainly in northern villages near Nablus and Salfit, governorates with the largest concentration of illegal Israeli settlements.
Wafa news reported a settler attack on olive harvesters in Burin, a village south of Nablus, on 12 October, the same day that a 55-year-old Palestinian farmer was attacked by settlers in the nearby village of Tel. Two days earlier, settlers stole olives from trees belonging to farmers in the same area.