Price tag policy

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Olive tree in the village of Burin which was allegedly vandalized by settlers from Yitzhar

Price tag policy (Hebrew: מדיניות תג מחיר), also known as 'Mutual Responsibility (Arvut Hadadit),[1] also referred to as a 'tactic',[2] 'strategy',[3] 'doctrine',[4] 'campaign,'[5] or 'principle',[6] is the name originally[7][8] given to "acts of random violence aimed at the Palestinian population, and Israeli security forces"[9] by fundamentalist Israeli settler youths[10] who, according to the New York Times, "exact a price from local Palestinians or from the Israeli security forces for any action taken against their settlement enterprise".[11][12][13] Price tag attacks now extend to acts of vandalism, suspected to be the work of lone individuals, against the Israeli army and security services, as well as against Christian and Muslim places of worship, and also against leftist institutions.[14][15]

The price-tag campaign includes attacks on Palestinian villages and property by Israeli settlers as retaliation for attacks on Israeli targets and for government demolition of structures at West Bank settlements and the removal of outposts which are variously described as being either unauthorised or illegal,[16][17][17][18][19][20] and in recent years (2012-2013), dozens of such attacks have targeted Christian sites and the Christian community in Jerusalem.[21][22] They generally follow actions by Israeli authorities that are perceived as harming the settlement enterprise, or follow Palestinian violence against settlers.

B'Tselem has documented many acts of this kind, which have included blocking roads, throwing stones at cars and houses, making incursions into Palestinian villages and land, torching fields, uprooting trees, and other damage to property.[23] or curbs on Israeli construction in the West Bank,[12][24] where 80% of the attacks take place, while some 10-15% take place in the area of Jerusalem.[25]

Shin Bet estimates of the extent of the perpetrator group vary: one figure calculates that from several hundred to about 3,000 people implement the price tag policy,[26] while a recent analysis sets the figure at a few dozen individuals, organized in small close-knit and well-organised cells[27] and backed by a few hundred right-wing activists.[28]

The "price tag" incidents include demonstrations, blocking of roads, vandalism of Palestinian property, violent attacks carried out against random Palestinian civilians, burning of mosques and fields, stone throwing, uprooting trees, making incursions into Palestinian villages and land,[29] damaging the property, or injuring members of the Israeli police and the Israeli Defense Forces, and defacing the homes of left-wing activists.[30]

The roots of the Price tag policy were traced to the August 2005 dismantling of settlements in the Gaza Strip as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan. Ever since then, extreme right wing settlers have sought to establish a "balance of terror", in which every state action aimed at them generates an immediate violent reaction.[31] The definition of such acts as terroristic, however, is the subject of considerable political controversy in Israel.[32]

The "price tag" concept and violence have been publicly rejected by Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,[33][34] who have demanded that those responsible are brought to justice. Cabinet member Benny Begin stated: "These people are scoundrels, but we have not been terribly successful in catching them."[35] Many people across the political spectrum in Israel have denounced such attacks[36] and some have made efforts to redress the harm.[37] The attacks are widely reported in the Arab media,[38] and have been strongly condemned by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The settler leadership have "fiercely condemned" the price tag policy,[39] and the vast majority of Yesha rabbis have expressed their reservations about it.[40] According to Shin Bet, the vast majority of the settlers also reject such actions.[41]

History of the price tag policy[edit]

January 31, 2014, graffiti on a Palestinian house outside Ma'ale Levona. "Jews Wake Up!", "Death to the Arabs", "Revenge!"

According to the military correspondent of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz Amos Harel, the roots of the policy go back to Ariel Sharon's policy of disengagement from Gaza in August 2005 and the demolition in 2006 of the illegal settlement at Amona. The expression is occasionally used for acts that took place before this date, to denote a retributive act. Gideon Levy, for example, describes the settlement of Mitzpe Yair, established in 1998 after the murder of settler Yair Har- Sinai, as 'an early "price tag" operation - an act of retribution for some incident.'[42] The term has been also used to embrace Israeli retaliative policy against Palestinians, and on behalf of the settler enterprise, by describing PM Binjamin Netanyahu's decision to permit Jews to move into a contested property, Machpela House, in response to the shooting of an Israeli border policeman near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.[43]

The Kahane Chai member and IDF soldier Eden Natan-Zada's gunning down of Israeli Arabs on a bus in the town of Shfar'am, in which four Arabs were killed and twenty-two were wounded, took place on 4 August 2005, just before the Gaza evacuation, and has been interpreted as a possible price-tag assault aimed at provoking riots that would make the IDF too busy to execute the evacuation on the Gaza Strip.[44] Later that same year, Asher Weisgan of the Shiloh settlement killed 4 Palestinians in a similar protest at the withdrawal from Amona.[45]

According to Harel, since the Gaza and Amona withdrawals

"the extreme right has sought to establish a 'balance of terror,' in which every state action aimed at them – from demolishing a caravan in an outpost to restricting the movements of those suspected of harassing Palestinian olive harvesters – generates an immediate, violent reaction."[46]

In July 2008, after the evacuation of a bus from the Israeli outpost of "Adi Ed" (עדי עד), followed by clashes between settler groups with Palestinians and the IDF, settler Itay Zar from the Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad referred to the policy as such: "Whenever an evacuation is carried out – whether it is a bus, a trailer or a small outpost – we will respond."[47] In an article published in May 2010, Zar stated that these actions represent a legitimate struggle which includes mainly the blocking of intersections and roads in order to disrupt the regular operations of Israeli security forces, preventing them from demolishing settler houses. Zar referred to the criminal activity involved in these actions as "marginal and uncontrolled acts."[48] In the wake of the dismantlement of Noam Federman's farm outside Hebron in October 2008, opponents of the evacuation called for revenge attacks against the security forces, telling soldiers: "you should all be defeated by your enemies, you should all become Gilad Shalit, you should all be killed, you should all be slaughtered, because that's what you deserve", and set a price tag on the event by stoning soldiers and local Palestinians, wounding 2 border poliemen, vandalizing cars, and destroying graves in a Muslim graveyard.[49]

Price tag operations were originally envisaged as mobilizing actions by settlers throughout the West Bank – retaliating in the north when outposts in the south were threatened with dismantlement, and exacting a price in the south when outposts risked removal in the north. However, by 2009, though considerable damage was wrought to Palestinian property and persons, a coordinated north-south campaign still hadn't been realised. Price tag attacks could, furthermore, also be triggered purely on the basis of an announcement of government measures or by rumours of an imminent evacuation.[50] Settlers have used the term to describe Israeli government operations that demolish the illegal structures they have build.[51]

The acts of random violence generally follow actions by Israeli authorities that are perceived as harming the settlement enterprise, or follow Palestinian violence against settlers. "Price tag" acts include demonstrations, blocking of roads,[52] clashes with Israeli security forces and even attacks against Israeli security forces personnel. Usually, however, the term refers to carried out by radical right-wing Israeli activists against Palestinians and their property. These include throwing stones at Palestinian cars, the torching of Palestinian fields and orchards, as well as the destruction and uprooting of trees belonging to Palestinians.

According to Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, "The goal is to create a price for each evacuation, causing the Israeli authorities to think twice about carrying them out."[53] A September 2011 article in The Economist suggested that one motive for these attacks might be to instigate violent Palestinian reaction, because the settlers are better-armed and believe that they could defeat the Palestinians.[54]

Towards the end of 2009, following an Israeli government decision to freeze any Israeli construction in the West Bank for a period of 10 months, several suspicious attacks were carried out in the West Bank,[55] including the suspected arson of a mosque in the Palestinian town of Yasuf, during which graffiti was sprayed on a building saying "Prepare for the price tag". The Shin Bet estimates of the extent of the perpetrator group vary: one figure calculates that from several hundred to about 3,000 people implement the price tag policy,[26] while a recent analysis sets the figure at a few dozen individuals backed a few hundred right-wing activists.[28] The vast majority of the settlers reject such actions, Shin Bet officials say. They are organized in small close-knit and well-organised cells.[27]

A 2009 summary report published by the Israeli police stated that during 2009 there was a decline in these types of attacks.[56][need quotation to verify] According to a report of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published in November 2009, if Israel were to begin evacuating settlements in the West Bank, 248,700 Palestinians living in 83 communities would be exposed to this policy, of which 22 communities with 75,900 inhabitants would be at high risk.[50]

According to Yesh Din, which monitored a selection of incidents over 4 years, Israel Police did not file a single indictment following 69 cases that included price tag operations, where thousands of olive trees were burnt down between 2005 and 2009.[57][58]

According to Reuters, there was a 57% upswing in such attacks in the first seven months of 2011. No charges had yet been brought against suspects in price tag incidents.[59] In September 2011 the Shin Beit advised the government to withhold funding from one yeshiva, Od Yosef Chai in the settlement of Yitzhar, on the basis of intelligence reports that its rabbis encourage students to attack Arabs, including 'price tag' assaults.[60]

Price tag attacks have been made on Christian holy sites. In response to one on the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion early in October 2012, Rabbi Gilad Kariv commented:"This price tag epidemic threatens to become a routine part of Israeli public life, causing moral, social and international damage. Law enforcement, which has failed to deal with the phenomenon, must make this a much higher priority than it has until now." [61] In December 2012, two yarmulke-clad youths, one a candidate for the Shin Bet security service, handed out flyers, promoting price-tag attacks against Palestinians, at an IDF induction centre in Tel Hashomer. The IDF issued a statement condemning political propaganda within the army, the centre was notified and the distribution of flyers stopped.[62]

Daniel Byman and Natan Sachs, writing for the Council on Foreign Relations's in-house journal Foreign Affairs, state that arson and the destruction of trees do not belong in the same category and aren't morally equivalent to suicide bombing though they, as well as such Israeli politicians as Moshe Ya'alon,[63] define these vandalistic acts as a form of terrorism.[64] In June 2013, according to Zahava Gal-On, the Israeli Cabinet was pressured, despite a recommendation by the Attorney-General to the contrary, to define perpetrators of such attacks as members of "forbidden organizations" as opposed to "terror groups". The implications are significant, in that belonging to the latter carries prison sentences of up to 20 years, whereas "forbidden organizations" only risk confiscation of their property, and under the definition, arrested members of price tag activist groups can avoid criminal prosecution.[32]

Allegations of staged price tag attacks[edit]

Settlers have at times claimed that Palestinians cut down trees on their own land and blame settlers.[65][66][67] In one case it was indeed discovered that the settlers were falsely accused of carrying out a price tag attack.[68][dead link] In addition, allegations have also been raised against several media organizations who have classified certain incidents, in which there were no suspects and no charges were filed, as "Price Tag" attacks, while similar attacks carried out against Israelis are not classified similarly.[citation needed]

In May 2011 the Israeli police arrested several members of the Israeli-Arab Bakri family from Jaffa under the suspicion of plotting to kill an Imam in the Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa, due to a business dispute. The murder was intended to appear as a "Price Tag" attack carried out by Israeli right-wing activists.[69]

Israeli settlers were accused by an Arab farmer of having gathered his sheep into an area thick with brush and setting fire to the bushes, burning alive his 12 pregnant ewes. This claim was supported by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem and reported by the Palestinian news agency Maan News and Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.[70] The police questioned the farmer's description of religious settlers wearing skullcaps driving a car on Sabbath as most Orthodox Jews do not drive on this day.[71] Caroline Glick writing in the Jerusalem Post reported that the farmer later admitted that he lost control of a brush fire that was responsible for the damage. Israeli media network, Arutz Sheva, said this incident exposed the tactic of leftists of accepting Arab claims and falsely accusing Jews.[72][73]

Two 15-year-old Bedouin students of Beit Zarzir confessed, after being arrested in March 2012, their responsibility for damaging a school for Arab and Jewish students, and spraying on the wall of the school, "Death to Arabs", "price tag," and" "Holocaust to the Arabs".[74]

In July 2013 an Israeli settler was arrested by police for staging a 'price tag' assault on his own car. While bisiting his family at the Kiryat Moshe neighbourhood in Jerusalem, he phoned the police to complain that someone had slashed the tires of his car and sprayed it with Arabic graffiti reading 'slaughter the Jews' (itbah al-Yahud). Investigations led to an admission that he himself was responsible for the damage and the motivation for the act was to "raise awareness" about Arab price tag acts conducted against Jews.[75]

Police investigations[edit]

The Israeli government has set up a national task force, forming part of the elite Lahav police unit, to coordinate investigations and gather intelligence on these attacks.[76] Allocated 80 positions, the price tag crimes unit has, after 18 months, filled them with 30 police officers, only for operations in the West Bank.[77]

After a number of mosques were torched over 2011, all suspects subsequently detailed were later released, since law enforcement officers encountered difficulties in securing evidence against them.[78] Dan Halutz, former chief of staff of the Israeli Army, in June 2012, commented to Army Radio that the authorities were not doing enough to crack down on "price tag" vandalism, or what he called "counterterrorism." 'If we wanted, we could catch them and when we want to, we will,' he added.[79] The Opposition leader in the Knesset, Shelly Yachimovich, commented in mid June, after another tire-slashing price tag attack on Palestinian vehicles that

"It is not logical that Israel, which is blessed with intelligence and operational capabilities that are among the best in the world, cannot catch an extremist group that causes indescribable damage."[80]

In January 2014, following an incident in which a groups of vandals from an illegal settlement near Esh Kodesh were captured by Palestinian villagers and handed over to the IDF, Uri Misgav wrote that 'the strongest army in the Middle East along with the Shin Bet security service, with all its effectiveness, have not been able to rein in' the settler militia thought responsible for these assaults 'over all these long years'.[63]

Legal redress[edit]

In 2006 the High Court of Israel laid down a decision that the State was obliged to 'devote manpower for the protection of Palestinian property, must open an immediate inquiry when reports of harassment are received, and send out patrols by security forces to locate such activities.' In one recent case, the Amour family sued for compensation after their olive grove near at-Tuwani, and the settlements of Maon and Havat Maon, was subject to a price tag assault. Unknown vandals had cut down 120 trees in 2006; a further tree was felled and the fencing destroyed in 2011; and on May 9, 2013 half of the trees were chopped down and a slogan left reading:'"price tag is fed up with thieves – mutual responsibility” and “regards from Eviatar”.' After initial requests for action from the Civil Administration were ignored, the family filed a claim for damages on the basis of negligence. The state replied to the petition by contending that most of the blame play with the plaintiff, since the Amour family had failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the incident. It further said that the vandals's acts were not sanctioned by the state of Israel. The IDF is investigating the matter.[81]

Israeli reactions[edit]

Official Israeli reactions[edit]

Israeli President Shimon Peres: "It is unconscionable that a Jew would harm something that is holy to another religion ... We will not allow extremists and criminals to undercut the need to live together equally in equality and mutual respect." October, 2011[82]

The "price tag" policy has also been denounced by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many people across the political spectrum in Israel.[83][84] Former Knesset member and settler leader Hanan Porat has also condemned the price tag policy. "The 'price tag' response is immoral," Porat said. "It's unheard of that one needs to burn the vineyards and fields of Arabs. It's immoral ... and it gives legitimacy to those who are interested in undermining the outpost issue. It's a very grave matter."[85]

The Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, visited a mosque in Yasuf 2009 to express his revulsion at the idea of price tag attacks and to deliver a Koran to the local imam. He was escorted by Israeli security forces and Palestinian police, and although the imam had welcomed him, he and his escorts were pelted by rocks upon leaving the village.[86]

The burning of a mosque at the Bedouin town Tuba-Zangariyye on 3 October 2011 shocked Israelis, as many Bedouins, including those from this village, serve in the Israeli army. The Israeli President Shimon Peres, accompanied by Israel's two chief rabbis, visited the mosque, and after surveying the damage stated he was "full of shame". Peres also stated that the mosque burning is "an un-Jewish act." In denouncing the attack he added: "It is unconscionable that a Jew would harm something that is holy to another religion ... We will not allow extremists and criminals to undercut the need to live together equally in equality and mutual respect."[82][87]

During the visit, the chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, and chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, jointly condemned the act and conveyed a message of reconciliation to the village residents. Amar said that he saw it as his duty to set a personal example for the respect one must show to places holy to different religions. He stresses that in the absence of proof, the act may have not been committed by Jews, and the attempt to ascribe the act to price tag activists may be in fact a blood libel. He also added that if the arsonist was in fact Jewish – he was subject to some of the Jewish laws of Dinei Rodef.[88] Dan Margalit writng for the pro-government newspaper Israel Hayom in January 2014 asked “why the voice of the leaders of the settlement movement and its leading rabbis has fallen silent,” [63]

Reactions of the Israeli public[edit]

Danny Dayan, Chairman of the Yesha Council: "price tag policy is a moral and tactical disaster ... It is in opposition to Jewish moral values and it damages the settlement enterprise. But I would expect that as we condemn the price tag policy we would expect Netanyahu to condemn the excessive use of force and of arms at Gilad Farm."[89]

The settler leadership have "fiercely condemned" the "price tag" attacks, against either Palestinians or Israeli security forces[90] A Haaretz editorial expressed scepticism over Yesha declarations, asserting that the response of condemnation to an earlier episode was marked by 'feigned and hypocritical shock'.[91] Some settler leaders who have publicly expressed their opposition to some price tag incidents include Danny Dayan, Chairman of the Yesha Council,[92] and Pinhas Wallerstein, former secretary general of the Yesha Council.[93]

Elyakim Haetzni,[94] an Israeli lawyer, pro-settlement activist and former right wing politician, wrote that price tag is "an infuriating term in terms of both morality and logic", and called it a "despicable method".[94]

Former mayor of Kedumim Daniella Weiss, whom senior political and military figures reportedly believed was behind much of the settler violence classified as price tag actions after the evacuation of Beit HaShalom,[95] is on record as rejecting the policy, saying that it had diverted settlers from what she considered to be their most important task – setting up additional caravans and tents to lay claim to ever more hilltops in the West Bank.[96] She stated that the only "price tag" action acceptable to her is the establishment of a new outpost in response to every outpost that had been demolished by Israeli authorities.[97]

According to a Ynet-Gesher survey conducted in March 2011, it was found that 46% of Israelis believe that "price tag" attacks are justified to a certain extent. A breakdown of attitudes among religious national and ultra-orthodox respondents revealed that a large majority are supportive of such price-tag attacks, with 70% of Orthodox and 71% religious nationalists Jews surveyed justifying the policy.[98] Ori Nir of Peace Now evaluated the poll as indicating significant support for violent actions among the Israeli public, yet estimated that it is likely that the timing of the poll influenced the respondents' views. Israelis were still under the influence of the Fogel family massacre, when five Jewish family members, including young children, were massacred in their beds on Sabbath.[16] A later survey, conducted in November 2011 by Tel Aviv University, found that 88% of Jewish Israelis said they were opposed to the "price tag" attacks, with 38% believing the government's response to the attacks to be "too mild" and another 38% finding the response appropriate. The remaining 13% called the state response "too harsh."[99] In some cases, Israeli settlers have claimed that Palestinians and leftwing activists staged "price tag" attacks as a means of provocation, in an attempt to tarnish the image of Jewish settlers in the West Bank.[65][100][101][102]

In a recent analysis Zeev Sternhell argues that while the vast majority in Israel is disgusted by these attacks, and the right is distancing itself from those torching mosques, there is little evidence that they condemn the daily harassment of Palestinians by settlers. The "price tag hooligans" are, he maintains, 'the vanguard of the entire settlement movement settler' and 'are increasingly reminiscent of phenomena in Europe in the interwar period.'[103]

Reactions among Israeli rabbis[edit]

Rabbi Haim Drukman : " 'Price Tag' are horrible, shocking, anti-Jewish and anti-morality"[104]

According to Haaretz, Shin Bet officials believe that the vast majority of settlers reject price tag attacks[105] both on moral grounds, prohibiting harm to innocent people and due to the Halachic prohibition which such actions, and on practical grounds, due to the fear that such acts are actually harmful to the settlement movement in the West Bank.[106][107]

Rabbis who have publicly expressed their opposition include Yuval Cherlow,[108]Haim Druckman,[104] Nahum Rabinovich,[109] Shlomo Aviner,[110] Aharon Lichtenstein,[111] Yaakov Medan,[112] Eliakim Levanon,[113] Avichai Rontzki,[114] Menachem Froman,[115] Benny Lau,[116] Samuel Reiner[117] and Haim Navon.[118]

According to the Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai, there is no Israeli leader or rabbi who openly supports this policy, yet some of the young activists who carry out these acts are students of the rabbis Yitzchak Ginsburgh, David Dudkavich and Yitzhak Shapira, who head the "Od Yosef Chai" Yeshiva in the Israeli settlement of Yitzhar.[119] In an interview on Galei Tzahal in February 2010, Ginsburgh explicitly called to refrain from violence against Palestinians.[120] Shapira, while urging a "fierce defense" of outposts, holds the IDF responsible for the atmosphere in which such acts are undertaken, and for implementing a price tag policy against the yeshiva.[121] Shapira, who has called for retaliatory attacks against Palestinians, was arrested in January 2010 for his alleged involvement in the torching of a Palestinian mosque. He denied any involvement, and was released due to lack of evidence.[122][123]

After an arson attack on a West Bank mosque in 2010, six prominent rabbis from the nearby settlement of Gush Etzion visited the mosque to deliver new copies of the Koran that had been burned.[124]

In July 2011, police announced that they would question prominent rabbis Dov Lior and Ya'akov Yosef over whether their endorsements of Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur's book, Torat Hamelech (The King's Torah) which argues that killing non-Jews is acceptable as part of a religious war, constituted an incitement. Security officials said that the book could be used by settlers to justify price tag retributive attacks on Palestinians.[125]

According to ynet news, in 2011, the Israeli Education Ministry decided to shut down the Dorshei Yehudcha Yeshiva high school and withhold funds from the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva due to the involvement of students in violence against Palestinians and security forces. The two yeshivas based in Yitzhar were headed by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg. Education Ministry Director-General Dr. Shimshon Shoshani harshly criticized the establishments writing that "The students are involved in many violent acts against Palestinian residents and security forces, including during yeshiva study hours. Prominent rabbis in the yeshiva support and/or are involved in this violent activity and go as far as to incite the students to this sort of activity." Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that the shut down of the yeshiva constituted "capitulation to leftist terror."[126]

The rabbi of Har Brakha, Eliezer Melamed, who according to Chaim Levinson of Haaretz, is considered one of the more extreme settler rabbis, used his weekly column in the newspaper "Basheva" to denounce the price tag policy. He wrote, "We don't aspire to private vengeance, but to state vengeance led by the Israel Defense Forces and all the systems of government".[127]

According to rabbi Barry Leff of the Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights, the price tag policy is forbidden by halacha (Jewish religious law). Citing Deuteronomy 24:16, he writes that the Torah clearly forbids vicarious punishment, punishing someone other than the offender. Furthermore, according to Leff, when the perpetrators attack a mosque, a house of God, they are also guilty of violating the principle of Bal tashkhit, not to carry out wanton destruction, as well as the sin of Chillul Hashem, the desecration of God's name.[128]

Palestinian reactions[edit]

A Palestinian Authority spokesman, Ghassan Khatib has stated that Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian agricultural land are "not random events", and that they are "condoned and supported by the Israeli government" who provide settlers with "full impunity and army protection while they destroy Palestinian land".[129] An Abu Ghosh resident, Jawdat Ibrahim, writing an op-ed for Ynet in response to the slashing of the tires of 22 cars in his own town in June 2013, wrote that it was bizarre that the state of Israel managed to catch the enemies of the State in operations abroad, yet could not arrest the 'bunch of local punks' who terrorize Arabs with their vandalism. Such acts are, in his view, the 'direct result' of racist remarks by Israeli politicians, humiliation of Arabs by the police and officials in government offices, and the general atmosphere these attitudes create. His town's response, he affirmed would be different:"Here in Abu Ghosh, we implement a "price tag" policy of a different kind: Wherever the hooligans destroy, we will build; whatever filth they leave behind, we will clean up. We will not let them destroy the co-existence we have worked so hard to maintain for so many years."[130]

International reactions[edit]

  •  US –
    • On 9 September 2011 the U.S. government condemned the recent "price tag" attacks in the West Bank and demanded that the culprits be arrested.[131]
    • In November 2011, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories published a report on settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank that showed significant rises since 2010, and 2009. The report covered not only physical harm to Palestinians, but also property damage such as the impact of uprooted olive trees, damaged tractors or murdered sheep. These incidents include attacks on Palestinians and their property as a means of discouraging the Israeli authorities from dismantling "small satellite settlements built without official authorization, many on privately-owned Palestinian land", which the report refers to as "the so-called "price tag" strategy". The report states that 90% of complaints filed with the Israeli police by Palestinians of settler violence have been closed without any indictments.[132]
    • In August 2012, the United States defined the attacks as 'terrorist incidents'.[133]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amos N. Guiora, Tolerating Intolerance: The Price of Protecting Extremism, Oxford University Press, 2014 p.107.
  2. ^ David Khalfa, 'After the Gaza Withdrawl: The Settler’s Struggle Over the Meaning of the Israeli National Identity,’ in Elisabeth Marteu (ed.) Civil Organizations and Protest Movements in Israel: Mobilisation around the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palgrave Macmillan. 2009 pp.27-51 p.42: These radical settlers, about a few hundreds of people, launched a new tactic called euphemistically “price tag”.'
  3. ^ United Nations Report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, United Nations General Assembly 65th Session,Supplement No.35 2010 p.10)
  4. ^ Daniel Byman A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, Oxford University Press/Saban Center, Brookings Institute, 2011 p.290: ‘Radicals espouse a “price tag” doctrine.'
  5. ^ Miriam Fendius Elman, Oded Haklai, Hendrik Spruyt ‘Democracy and Peacemaking in Protracted Conflicts:The Israeli Case,’ Miriam Fendius Elman, Oded Haklai, Hendrik Spruyt (eds.) Democracy and Conflict Resolution: The Dilemmas of Israel's Peacemaking, Syracuse University Press, 2014 pp.1-26, pp.16-17 n,16: ‘settlement supports have been successful in recent years by threatening violent resistance to settlement dismantlement and by resorting to vigilante tactics to prevent further disengagement (e.g., the “price tag campaign” whereby attempts to evacuate illegal settlements have been met with the destruction of Palestinian property and the targeting of Palestinian civilians.)’
  6. ^ Michael Karpin, Imperfect Compromise: A New Consensus Among Israelis and Palestinians, Potamac Books, 2013 p.26.
  7. ^ Nir Hasson, ‘Jerusalem Christians are latest targets in recent spate of 'price tag' attacks,’ at Haaretz, 21 February 2012.
  8. ^ Nir Hasson/Associated Press, 'Monastery near Jerusalem defaced in suspected 'price tag' attack,' at Haaretz 21 August 2013.’ Jewish extremists originally used the term “price tag” to describe vandalism and violence that targeted Israelis as well as Palestinians and was aimed at preventing or avenging evacuations of West Bank settlers.’
  9. ^ B'tselem, Background on violence by settlers,' 2011:'In recent years, settlers have carried out violent acts under the slogan "price tag." These are acts of random violence aimed at the Palestinian population and Israeli security forces.'
  10. ^ Joshua Mitnick, ‘Mosque is torched in Israel,’ in Wall Street Journal, 4 October 2011.
  11. ^ Isabel Kershner, Mosque Set on Fire in Northern Israel, at New York Times, 3 October 2011:'The attack followed a series of similar assaults on mosques in the West Bank by arsonists suspected of being radical settlers as part of a campaign known as "price tag," which seeks to exact a price from local Palestinians for violence against settlers or from Israeli security forces for taking action against illegal construction in Jewish outposts in the West Bank.'
  12. ^ a b Uri Friedman, The 'Price Tag' Menace: Vigilante Israeli Settler Attacks Spread, at The Atlantic Wire, 3 October 2011:'The New York Times defines price tag attacks as incidents in which radical Jewish settlers "exact a price from local Palestinians or from the Israeli security forces for any action taken against their settlement enterprise".'
  13. ^ Ben Schott, 'Schott's Vocab: A Miscellany of Modern Words & Phrases,' in New York Times, 1 June 2011.
  14. ^ Nir Hasson, ‘Jerusalem Christians are latest targets in recent spate of 'price tag' attacks,’ at Haaretz, 21 February 2012.‘The attack on the Narkis Street Baptist Congregation marks the latest in a series of price tag attacks that have targeted Muslim, Christian and leftist institutions in the capital over the last two months. But police believe most of the vandalism is not the work of an organized group; rather, they say, the spray-painted slogans are largely copycat actions carried out by lone individuals. The original price tag attacks, in contrast, were thought to be the work of a group of settlers seeking to set a "price tag" on house demolitions in the settlements via retaliatory attacks on Palestinians and/or Israeli soldiers. ‘
  15. ^ Nir Hasson/Associated Press, 'Monastery near Jerusalem defaced in suspected 'price tag' attack,' at Haaretz 21 August 2013.‘Dr. Gadi Gvaryahu, Chairman of the Bright Tag organization working to deter violent “price tag” attacks against Palestinians, said in of the attack: “The violation of the monastery is directly linked to attacks against over twenty Christian and Muslim places of worship in the last three years. The attackers seek to cause unrest between the various religions in Israel and bring about bloodshed”.’
  16. ^ a b Ori Nir, '"Price Tag" Terrorism Crosses the Green Line,', in Peace Now, 4 October 2011
  17. ^ a b Friedman, Uri. The 'Price Tag' Menace: Vigilante Israeli Settler Attacks Spread. October 2011
  18. ^ Yaniv Kubovich, Eli Ashkenazi. Police brace for Israeli Arab revenge attacks following mosque torching. Haaretz. "Price tag attacks are revenge actions by Jewish extremists, usually against Palestinians, following terror attacks or state demolitions in settlements or outposts."
  19. ^ Haaretz Service and Chaim Levinson 'Palestinian stabbed in Hebron Hills in suspected 'price tag' attack,' in Haaretz, 21 March 2011. "Some of these so-called 'price tag' attacks have been in response to Palestinian attacks on Jews, while others have been in response to government actions taken to curtail of settlement activities."
  20. ^ B'tselem, Background on violence by settlers,' 2011:"In recent years, settlers have carried out violent acts under the slogan "price tag". These are acts of random violence aimed at the Palestinian population and Israeli security forces.
  21. ^ Nir Hasson and Gili Cohen,['Jerusalem's Dormition Church suffers suspected 'price tag' attack,'] at Haaretz, 30 May 2013
  22. ^ However, ther Associated Press calculates the number of such attacks through all of the Holy Land at 17 over the three year period, 2011-2013. Associated Press, 'Attack on Jerusalem graves unnerves Christians,' at Ynet
  23. ^ John Lyons, Moral Minority in The Australian, 17 September 2011:'Some settlers practice a "price tag" policy: if the Israeli government does something they do not like, such as trying to close an illegal outpost, they in turn punish Palestinians, by poisoning or burning olive trees, desecrating mosques or attacking cars..'
  24. ^ Anshel Pfeffer & Chaim Levinson Israeli settlers' council condemns 'marginal group' behind vandalism at IDF base, in Haaretz, 7 September 2011: 'This was the first "price tag" act extremist settlers have implemented against the army since adopting their policy of seeking retribution to exact for any curb on Israeli construction in the West Bank. Extremists adopted their "price tag" policy to demonstrate discontent with the government's decision to freeze construction in West Bank settlements, but have directed their operations thus far at Palestinians.'
  25. ^ Chaim Levinson, 'Israel Police creates unit to fight 'price tag' attacks - but only in West Bank,' at Haaretz 26 June 2013
  26. ^ a b Chezki Ezra, GSS hills activists engaged in "price tag" debate", in Arutz Sheva, 11 February 2008.
  27. ^ a b Reuters, Facts about "Price Tag" attacks blamed on Jewish settlers, 3 October 2011.
  28. ^ a b Eli Ashkenazi, Amos Harel and DPA 'Israel Police on high alert as clashes ensue following mosque arson,' in Haaretz, 4 October 2011.
  29. ^ B'tselem, Background on violence by settlers.
  30. ^ Oz Rosenberg, Home of Israeli left-wing activist defaced in latest 'price tag' act in Haaretz, 12 September 2011.
  31. ^ Amos Harel ANALYSIS / The extreme right has sought to establish a 'balance of terror', in Haaretz, 11 March 2008.
  32. ^ a b 'Meretz head Gal-On blasts AG over cabinet’s lesser categorization of 'price tag’ attacks,' at Haaretz, 16 February 2014.
  33. ^ Netanyahu vows to stop price-tag, racist attacks. Jerusalem Post. 2013
  34. ^ Herb Keinon, Tovah Lazaroff, 'Netanyahu condemns settlers’ ‘price tag’ violence' in Jerusalem Post, 9 March 2011:"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned alleged violence carried out by far-Right activists in the past week under the guise of the so-called "price tag" reprisal policy, saying the whole concept was completely unacceptable."
  35. ^ Ethan Bronner, Amid Statehood Bid, Tensions Simmer in West Bank, in New York Times, 23 September 2011.
  36. ^ Raanan Ben-Zur, 'Suspect arrested in Tuba Zangaria mosque arson,' in Ynet, 6 October 2011.
  37. ^ Chief rabbi: Palestinian mosque burning harkens to Kristallnacht
  38. ^ AFP: Islamic Conference condemns mosque desecration
  39. ^ Ethan Bronner, Amid Statehood Bid, Tensions Simmer in West Bank, New York Times, 23 September 2011, p.1:"The settler leadership has fiercely condemned "price tag," saying it does not represent the vast majority of their community".
  40. ^ Nadav Shragai, 'The new policy of the settlers: "price tag" on any evacuation of the army', (Hebrew) in Haaretz, 3 October 2008:"The settlers' establishment and the vast majority of the Yesha Rabbis express reservations about it."
  41. ^ Eli Ashkenazi, Amos Harel and DPA Israel Police on high alert as clashes ensue following mosque arson in Haaretz, 4 October 2011.
  42. ^ Gideon Levi, 'Not sacred, not stolen,' at Haaretz, 7 September 2012
  43. ^ Haaretz editorial, 'A governmental price tag attack,' at Haaretz 24 September 2013.
  44. ^ Daniel Byman, A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, Oxford University Press, 2011 p.290.
  45. ^ Byman, 2011 p.290-1
  46. ^ Amos Harel, ANALYSIS: The extreme right has sought to establish a 'balance of terror', in Haaretz, 3 November 2008.
  47. ^ Promise made to always respond to the evacuation of settlers
  48. ^ Stop condemning and start building
  49. ^ Haaretz Editorial, 'Defeat settler terror', Haaretz, 27 October 2008.
  50. ^ a b OCHA, 1 November 2009.
  51. ^ Yoav Zitun and Itay Blumenthal, 'Six Border Policemen hurt, IDF post destroyed in settlers' rampage near Yitzhar,' Ynet 8 April 2014:'The Border Policemen had begun to demolish illegal structures at the settlement when local residents began throwing stones at the troops. Two police officers required medical attention. Settlers at Yitzhar slammed the demolition as a "price tag" attack carried out by the military in revenge for attacks on Israeli security personnel in recent days.'
  52. ^ Price Tag blocking intersections throughout the West Bank and Israel
  53. ^ Sheera Frenkel (21 July 2009). "Israeli settlers burn olive groves in ‘price tag’ retaliation attack". The Times. UK. 
  54. ^ "The West Bank : Villagers v settlers". The Economist. September 2011. "By night, activists exact what they call "price-tags", for instance by defiling mosques, in the hope of provoking a conflict which the well-armed settlers feel sure they could win." 
  55. ^ Tires slashed and graffiti against frozen construction in Judea and Samaria
  56. ^ Decline in Price tag attacks
  57. ^ Human Rights Watch Separate and Unequal Israel’s Discriminatory Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,' Human Rights Watch, December 2010 p.99.
  58. ^ OCHA, 1 November 2009:"The lack of adequate law enforcement and accountability in regard to settler violence has been recurrently pointed out, since the early 1980s, by official commissions appointed by the Israeli authorities, as well as by human rights organizations.."
  59. ^ Friedman, Uri, The 'Price Tag' Menace: Vigilante Israeli Settler Attacks Spread. October 2011.
  60. ^ Shin Bet urges Israeli government to halt funding of West Bank yeshiva – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
  61. ^ Oz Rosenberg and Nir Hasson, 'Another Israeli church defaced with 'price tag' graffiti,' at Haaretz, 3 October 2012.
  62. ^ Gili Cohen 'Activists hand out fliers promoting 'price tag' attacks at IDF center,' at Haaretz, 3 December 2012.
  63. ^ a b c Uri Misgav, 'The occupation is one big 'price tag’ attack and we're all paying the price,' at Haaretz 10 January 2014.
  64. ^ Daniel Byman and Natan Sachs, 'The Rise of Settler Terrorism: The West Bank’s Other Violent Extremists,', at Foreign Affairs, 12 August 2012:'To be clear, arson and the destruction of trees do not belong in the same category as suicide bombings, and using the word "terrorism" to describe such vandalism risks moral equivalency. Yet "terrorism" is defined not only by the act itself but also by its purpose: to produce a psychological effect, terror, as a means of advancing a political agenda. This definition fits the aim of extremist settlers, who often scrawl the Hebrew words for "price tag" at the scene of the crime -- a message to their targets that they will exact a price for any act that they oppose. Such attacks target innocent Palestinians in response to and as a deterrent against Palestinian terrorism and target Palestinians, pro-peace Israelis, and Israeli soldiers alike for supposedly anti-settlement measures taken by the Israeli government. By seeking to frighten a rival population and intimidate a government, the extremists mimic the typical methods of terrorist groups across the globe.'
  65. ^ a b Ali Waked & Efrat Weiss, After fire in the mosque, a Border Policeman and Palestinian injured (Hebrew) in Ynet, 11 December 2009.
  66. ^ Yair Altman, 'Settlers say:we have documentation on the price tag,' (Hebrew) in Ynet, 30 October 2010.
  67. ^ Ali Waked,'Palestinians say 40 of their olive trees destroyed: settlers claim it is a plot,' (Hebrew) in Ynet, 23 February 2010.
  68. ^ Amichai Robin,'Now even the Border Police admit that Palestinians lied,' (Hebrew) in Srugim (Knitted), 17 February 2011.A shepherd from the village of Majdal Bani Fadil near Ma'ale Efrayim blamed settlers for a fire that killed his flock.
  69. ^ Haaretz Service and Yaniv Kubovich,'Jaffa gang suspected of plotting to kill sheikh, blame rightists for crime,', in Haaretz, 17 May 2011.
  70. ^ "Farmer: Settlers burned my sheep alive". Maan News Agency. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  71. ^ Issacharoff, Avi. "Police question Palestinian claim settlers burned his herd of sheep". Haaretz. Retrieved 21.12.10. 
  72. ^ "Column One: Agents of influenceurl=http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=202515". The Jerusalem Post. 
  73. ^ Gedalyahu, Tzvi Ben. "Leftists Caught Red-Handed: ‘Burning Sheep’ Libel Was Faked". http://www.israelnationalnews.com. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  74. ^ "Arab Youths Confessed to Spraying ‘Death to Arabs’". Jewish Press. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  75. ^ Noam (Dabul) Dvir ,'Settler sprays 'slaughter Jews' on own car,' at Ynet, 12 July 2013.
  76. ^ Yaakov Lappin, Melanie Lidman, 'E. J'lem cars vandalized in suspected far-right attack,' at Jerusalem Post, 12 June 2012.
  77. ^ Chaim Levinson, 'Israel Police creates unit to fight 'price tag' attacks - but only in West Bank,' at Haaretz 26 June 2013
  78. ^ Chaim Levinson, Jonathan Lis,police denies provocateurs operating among settlers,' at Haaretz, January 6, 2012.
  79. ^ Jodi Rudoren, Khaled Abu Aker, 'West Bank Mosque Is Set Ablaze and Vandalized,', at New York Times, 19 June 2012
  80. ^ Noam (Dabul) Dvir, hate crime in J'lem: Car tires slashed in Arab neighborhood,' at Ynet,24 June 2013.
  81. ^ Amira Hass, ‘Israel says Palestinian price tag victims to blame for attacks,’ at Haaretz 36 December 2013
  82. ^ a b John Lyons,'Mosque burning in Israel fuels tensions,' in The Australian, 5 October 2011
  83. ^ Netanyahu - 'Price tag' a distortion of civil protest
  84. ^ Netanyahu condemns settlers’ ‘price tag’... JPost – National News
  85. ^ Israel – Rabbi Harshly Condemns Violence by Jewish Hooligans Against Arabs, 2 June 2009
  86. ^ Rabbi Compares West Bank Mosque Attack to Kristallnacht
  87. ^ Joel Greenberg, 'Mosque torched in northern Israel,' in The Washington Post, 3 October 2011.
  88. ^ , in Kobi Nahshoni, 'Rabbi Amar: Mosque arson may be blood libel,' in Ynet, 4 October 2011:'the attempt to ascribe the act to "price tag" activists is basically a "blood libel".
  89. ^ Netanyahu condemns settlers’ ‘price tag’ violence. Jerusalem Post
  90. ^ Nadav Shragai, The new policy of the settlers: "price tag" on any evacuation of the army, 3 October 2008
  91. ^ Haaretz Editorial, 'Defeat settler terror ' in Haaretz, 27 October 2008.
  92. ^ JPOST.COM STAFF, 'Danny Dayan condemns 'price tag' attack' in Jerusalem Post, 7 September 2011.:"Chairman of the Yesha Council Danny Dayan on Wednesday vehemently condemned the "price tag" attack on the IDF base and called on the vandals responsible to turn themselves in immediately, Israel Radio reported. He continued, saying that it was time the security forces start treating instances like this one seriously and bring the perpetrators to justice."
  93. ^ BBC, 'West Bank settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein resigns,' on BBC News, 11 January 2010:"In his resignation letter as secretary general of the Yesha Council, Mr Wallerstein condemned the organisation's failure to condemn the "price tag" policy employed by some settlers. Under the policy, settlers attack Palestinian villages when the government takes action against Jewish settlements. He also criticised the council for failing to condemn soldiers who refuse to carry out government orders to evacuate unauthorised settlements."
  94. ^ a b Elyakim Haetzni, 'Despicable Jewish revenge,', YNET, 25 October 2010.
  95. ^ Nathan Jeffay, Hebron Rioters Inspired by Radical Settler Leaders, The Jewish Daily Forward, 11 December 2008.
  96. ^ James Hider 'West Bank settlers use ‘price tag’ tactic to punish Palestinians,' in The Times, 15 October 2009.
  97. ^ Daniella Weiss - "Shin Bet involved in laying the cargo at Sternhell"
  98. ^ Ynet, Poll: 46% in favor of 'price tag',' in Ynet 28 March 2011.
  99. ^ Jerusalem Post, ‘88% of Jewish Israelis oppose price tag attacks’,' in Jerusalem Post 10 November 2011.
  100. ^ Yair Altman, 'Settlers: Arabs, leftists staged 'price tag' act,', in Ynet, 30 October 2010.
  101. ^ Samuel Grossman, התפרעויות בירושלים אחרי טענות ל"תג מחיר", in Ynet, 20 March 2010.
  102. ^ Ali Waked, 'Settlers reject Palestinian accusations of tree sabotage,', in Ynet, 23 February 2010.
  103. ^ Zeev Sternhell Israeli society is standing by as settlers take the reigns,’ in Haaretz, 14 October 2011.
  104. ^ a b Gil Ronen, 'Rav Druckman: 'Price Tag' Attacks are Horrible,', in Arutz Sheva, 3 October 2011.:"The Head of the Center of Bnei Akiva Yeshivas, Rav Chaim Druckman, reacted forcefully to the burning of a mosque in the Bedouin Arab village of Tuba Sunday night."All of the actions that are undertaken under the headline 'Price Tag' are horrible, shocking, anti-Jewish and anti-morality," he said."
  105. ^ Eli Ashkenazi, Amos Harel and DPA, 'Israel Police on high alert as clashes ensue following mosque arson,' in Haaretz, 4 October 2011.
  106. ^ Isabel Kershner (7 June 2011). "Arsonists Damage and Deface Mosque in West Bank Village". New York Times. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  107. ^ "Israeli settler rabbi slams 'price tag' violence". AFP. 19 September 2011. 
  108. ^ Interview with Rabbi Yuval Cherlow
  109. ^ Rabbi Rabinowitz: "price tag are destructive bullies"
  110. ^ Rabbi Shlomo Aviner: "Arabs should not damage property"
  111. ^ Akiva Novick 'Rabbis slam 'price tag' activities,', in Ynet, 19 September 2011.:Two prominent Religious Zionism rabbis have strongly condemned the "price tag" activities committed by extreme right-wing activists, and have even called on settlers – for the first time – to turn in the criminals to the army. The two are the heads of the Har Etzion Yeshiva and are among the settler public's moderate religious leaders: Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, 78, who is considered a genius on halachic issues, and Rabbi Yaaqov Medan, 61, considered the yeshiva's most rightist leader."
  112. ^ Akiva Novick 'Rabbis slam 'price tag' activities,', in Ynet, 19 September 2011
  113. ^ Police and Palestinians injured in Mosque arson attack
  114. ^ הרבצ"ר היוצא: איפה התל-אביבים הקרביים?
  115. ^ Rabbi Froman: "This is no time to 'price tag'"
  116. ^ Rabbi Lau - "'price tag' undermine our right to land"
  117. ^ Rabbi Reiner - "Price tag' is a religious offense"
  118. ^ Haim Navon - "Samson has saved Israel, but did so by way of sin and personal revenge"
  119. ^ The Settler's new policy | Haaretz | Oct 3rd 2008
  120. ^ "Rabbi Shapira in custody after Yitzhar meeting
  121. ^ Tovah Lazaroff, 'IDF to blame for price-tag atmosphere,' in Jerusalem Post, 17 May 2010.
  122. ^ "Rabbi arrested, suspected in West Bank mosque arson", BBC News, 27 January 2010
  123. ^ 'IDF to blame for price-tag atmosphere'
  124. ^ Rabbis deliver apologies, new Korans to vandalized mosque
  125. ^ Sheera Frenkel Israel's probe of radical Jewish text puts rabbis in spot light, McClatchy Washington Bureau, 7 July 2011.
  126. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4142719,00.html
  127. ^ Palestinian laborer beaten in suspected 'price tag' attack. Haaretz.
  128. ^ Barry Leff, Price tag – a violation of Jewish values, Jerusalem Post
  129. ^ Maan News Agency: PA: Settler violence 'not random'
  130. ^ Jawdat Ibrahim, Our 'price tag' at Ynet 24 June 2013
  131. ^ JPost staff 'US condemns 'price-tag' attacks on W. Bank mosques,' in Jerusalem Post, 9 September 2011.
  132. ^ United Nations, November 2011, Israeli Settler Violence in the West Bank, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory,November, 2011, Retrieved 8 November 2011
  133. ^ Harriet Sherwood, Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians listed as 'terrorist incidents' by US, The Guardian, August 19, 2012.

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