I am deeply saddened and extremely disappointed by this disgraceful act.
By Emily Amrousi
Israeli racists who vandalise and cause damage ought to be punished severely or else there will be an escalation in violence on both sides. Not to mention the fact that this is not the Jewish way.
Attack comes after hate graffiti found in Muslim, Christian cemeteries; Police: Vandalism not necessarily "price-tag" linked; Jaffa Arabs protest.
Hours after far-right-wing graffiti was reported to police in Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in the area on Saturday. The projectile struck the roof of the Rabbi Meir synagogue in the city. No damage or injuries were reported in the attack.
Earlier on Saturday night, police said that far-right-wing graffiti was found spray painted in Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa, but later said they were not convinced the graffiti was actually spray-painted by right-wing extremists.
Police had beefed up presence in Jaffa and held talks with community leaders to try and reduce the likelihood of more attacks or vandalism.
The messages "price tag" and "death to Arabs" were written on the tombstones. However, police later reported that the slogan "death to Russians - G.A. 02" was also spray painted in the cemetery, adding that this graffiti was "linked to a soccer group."
Police denied media reports that some 25 graves were damaged in the incident.
"We have not seen any smashed stones," a Tel Aviv police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.
"An investigation is underway," she added.
"This is not a new incident. We believe it occurred several days ago," she said. "The graffiti has been erased."
The head of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Ajawa, told Channel 10 news that he had issued a call to all Arab groups in the city to "act with caution and avoid being dragged into a violent response."
He described the incident as "an attempt by an extremist group to blackmail the Arab masses in the city."
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were looking "at a number
of possibilities" regarding the cemetery defacement.
A separate investigation is underway into the Molotov cocktail attack, he added.
On Saturday night, around 200 people took part in a protest in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa against the vandalism.
Head of the Ajami neighborhood committee in Jaffa, Kamal Agbariya, said Saturday night, “this is a terrible and offensive action to desecrate a cemetery, but we say that the writing was on the wall. There were two cases in the past month where people wrote “death to Arabs” on walls in Jaffa and probably people saw that there was no response from the police so they did it again.”
Agbariya called on police to act against the vandalism and said that Jaffa residents would visit the police headquarters on Salameh street in South Tel Aviv on Sunday to demand that they take further actions to prevent such incidents from happening again.
Throughout the rally, protesters chanted against “settlers” and “fascists” and pointed an accusatory finger at the Netanyahu government, which they claimed is not taking enough actions against Jewish extremism.
Tel-Aviv Jaffa city councilman Sami Abu-Shehada blamed the government for not taking what he said were strong enough steps against such actions, saying “the government gives these people a green light to commit such acts. If people were to pay a serious price after the first price tag operation, it wouldn’t happen again.”
On Thursday, police announced the arrest of a yeshiva student from northern Israel on suspicion of being behind an arson attack on a mosque in a Beduin village in the Galilee.
A night of rioting broke out in the village of Tuba Zanghariya after the incident, followed by waves of arrests of suspected rioters.
By Emily Amrousi
When I go to sleep at night, I dream: Catch them. By morning, the delirium is gone. I'm the first to wish the police success: The "price tag" criminals are drilling a hole in my boat. Every public relations achievement evaporates like smoke in the face of burnt Qurans. Everything we collect with spoons, they pour out with buckets.
The strange thing is that they are not being caught. A year ago, news came out that out of 97 investigations into price tag crimes [a term referring to acts of vandalism, intimidation and violence mainly carried out by extremist settlers against Palestinian targets, which have recently also begun to target IDF bases and Israeli Arabs], not a single one of the perpetrators has been detained. These crimes are committed by careless teenagers who leave fingerprints everywhere. Criminals far more sophisticated than them are caught within a couple of days.
Get the Israel Hayom newsletter sent to your mailbox!
One of the supporters of the price tag operations, a marginalized youth, hangs around near Palestinian villages. When I asked his father if he is not concerned for the safety of his son, the father replied that the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the police are aware of his whereabouts at any given moment, and so he is not worried. He also said he would be pleased if his son were arrested.
Half a year ago, the figure was updated. Out of a total of 612 files, only 83 eventually resulted in indictments. And by the way, only 19 of these are connected to damage of Palestinian property; the rest deal with people accused of demonstrating against Israeli security forces.
Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch lunatic, set the Reichstag on fire while half naked. Hermann Goering quickly proclaimed the action part of a Communist conspiracy, Hitler declared a state of emergency, and the flames provided the Nazis with the right atmosphere to establish their dictatorship. That fire, the act of a solitary lunatic, was fanned into an inferno, while the lighter fluid was stashed away. During the Nuremberg Trials, it turned out that Goering was part of the fire.
Back to us: In May of this year, three Arabs from Jaffa were arrested and accused of planning to set off a car bomb at the Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa, killing dozens of Arab worshipers. This was right after the Itamar massacre [in which an almost entire family of settlers were murdered in their beds by Palestinians], and the three planned to leave price tag graffiti at the site of the attack, in order to create the impression that this was an attack carried out by right-wingers. The motive was a legal dispute with the mosque's sheikh. Intelligence work foiled the plot at the last minute.
Three months earlier, Samir Abu Lachiyeh, a Palestinian shepherd from Majdal Bani Fadel, lit a contained brush fire. The flames got out of control, consuming most of his flock. [Human rights organization] Betzelem didn't let the facts confuse them, and released a statement blaming the fearsome act on settlers. The media repeated the claims as gospel. The pictures were published abroad, creating yet another media storm against Israel. A police investigation and a polygraph indicated that the shepherd had lied.
We must remember Abu Lachiyeh and the Jaffa gang, and we must not forget van der Lubbe, but let us also recall that they are not everything. There are provocations by those who hate Israel, there are Palestinians hoping to receive compensation, but there are also real arsonists, attackers and uprooters. They deserve to be punished, and we deserve to see them punished. However, someone has failed. Someone is consciously dragging his feet. They are allowed to toss matches onto a dry field. Considering the damage that they cause and are liable to cause, one does not get the impression that any effort is being made to catch them. In order to silence the conspiracy theorists, and the feeling that someone has an interest in perpetuating the chaos, I implore: Catch them.