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New suspected 'price tag' vandalism in east Jerusalem


Suspected Jewish extremists punctured the tyres of more than 20 Palestinian cars in an east Jerusalem neighbourhood and scrawled graffiti nearby in an apparent "price tag" attack, an AFP correspondent said on Monday.

Perpetrators drew a Star of David on one of the cars vandalised in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood, and on the wall of a nearby home they wrote "we won't be silent on stone throwing".

The attack took place a short distance from the shopping mall of the adjacent settler neighbourhood of Pisgat Zeev.

Police put the number of cars vandalised at 21 and said they had opened an investigation.

"Price tag" attacks are the name used for Jewish extremist hate crimes that generally target Arabs.

Initially carried out against Palestinians in retaliation for state moves to dismantle unauthorised settler outposts, price tag attacks have become a much broader phenomenon with racist and xenophobic overtones.

Last week 28 cars were vandalised in Arab-Israeli town Abu Ghosh with racist graffiti scrawled nearby in an attack that evoked strong condemnation from the Israeli political establishment. President Shimon Peres was on Monday to hold a solidarity visit to the town which lies west of Jerusalem.

Earlier this month two vehicles were burnt in an east Jerusalem neighbourhood, with the words "price tag" graffitied nearby and in a separate attack, graves were desecrated in an Arab Christian cemetery in Jaffa.

The Israeli cabinet has recently decided to define "price tag" suspects as part of "unlawful organisations", stopping short of the original justice ministry proposal to call their acts "terrorism".

A police official recently told a parliamentary committee that in 2012 they had opened 623 files on price tag attacks, arrested 200 people and served 123 indictments in connection with such acts.

This year, the official said, police had opened 165 files on attacks, arrested 76 suspects and served 31 indictments, stressing these crimes were considered ideologically motivated "nationalistic crimes" and were a "top priority" for police.