Tear gas fired into home of Palestinian family by suspected extremists

The family were asleep at the time of the attack on their house in the West Bank.

Palestinian Hussein Al Najjar Darwish holds his nine-month-old son as she stands in front of his house sprayed with graffiti reading in Hebrew: "revenge" and "hello from the prisoners of Zion", in the village of Beitillu, near Ramallah in the Israeli occupied West Bank on December 22. Abbas Momani / AFP Photo
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JERUSALEM // Suspected Jewish extremists fired a pair of tear gas canisters into the home of a Palestinian family in the West Bank 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.

The attack on Tuesday 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.

* Associated Press