Suspected Jewish extremists fired a pair of teargas canisters into the home of a Palestinian family in the West Bank early on Tuesday and sprawled the word “revenge” in Hebrew on the house, Israeli police said.
The family was asleep and unharmed in attack, said police spokeswoman Luba Samri, adding that an investigation was underway.
Jewish extremists have for years vandalised or set fire to Palestinian property, as well as mosques, churches, the offices of dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases. The so-called “price tag” attacks seek to exact a cost for Israeli steps seen as favouring the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged “zero tolerance” for such attacks and Israel has authorised a series of steps, including administrative detention, to help stamp out the trend.
Tuesday attack near Ramallah comes as Israel says it has made significant progress in the investigation of the most notorious of these attacks, a July firebombing that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents in the village of Duma.
That attack prompted widespread condemnation and pledges by Israel’s government to get tougher on Jewish vigilantes. Even with the stepped-up measures, Israel has been unable to charge those responsible for the deadly attack.
In recent weeks, anger has been rising among far-right activists who object to the arrests and interrogation of the suspected attackers.
Some have claimed that Israel’s Shin Bet security service has tortured them to exact a confession for an attack that was deeply embarrassing for Israel.
In Tuesday’s attack, in addition to the word “revenge,” the graffiti also included the words “regards from the detainees of Zion” a possible reference to those who have been arrested as suspects.
Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, told Israel’s Army Radio that he will not tolerate Jewish extremist attacks.
“We have to employ the firmest hand possible in order to prevent the next Duma,” the village where the July attack happened, he said.
Bennett also added that the “Shin Bet protects us every day from the Palestinians, and we have to rely on the same Shin Bet now.”
The remarks come as the region is embroiled in three months of near-daily Palestinian attacks on Israelis that have killed 20 people. At least 116 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, of which Israel says 79 were assailants. The rest were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
Israel blames the violence on incitement by political and religious leaders. Palestinians say the attacks stem from despair at nearly half a century of Israeli military occupation.