Police were investigating an apparent hate crime by right-wing Jewish extremists Tuesday after hundreds of grapevines were cut down in a Palestinian vineyard near the West Bank city of Hebron in the second such incident in a week.
Police said they were looking into the incident in the West Bank village of Halhul, a few kilometers north of Hebron.
According to Yesh Din, a human rights watchdog active in the West Bank, the destroyed vineyard was some nine dunams (two acres) in size.
The incident took place only a few hundred meters away from the site of a similar attack last Wednesday in which 400 grapevines were cut down alongside threatening graffiti in Hebrew.
That vandalism took place on the outskirts of the Palestinian village of Beit Anun, which is owned by a pair of residents of nearby Hebron, after the farmer found the destroyed vines.
Photos taken by B’Tselem human rights group showed the Hebrew phrase “We will reach every place” spray-painted on a boulder at the scene. The graffiti indicated that the attack was of the so-called “price tag” kind, which far-right Jewish perpetrators say are in retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement.
Pictures showed that the mostly young vines had their trunks sawed through.
Recent months have seen many attacks against Palestinians, including the chopping down of dozens of olive trees, the torching of a mosque, stones thrown through car windows, the slashing of tires, and graffiti calling for the murder of Arabs. Police are investigating the various crimes, but no arrests have been reported.
Israeli settlers also suffered property damage in at least one April incident blamed on Palestinians. Some 150 grapevines in a vineyard belonging to a resident of the Jordan Valley settlement of Tomer were chopped down overnight.
A pair of memorials built in the northern West Bank in memory of settlers killed in Palestinian terror attacks have also been vandalized in recent weeks.