My friend good friend Ori Nir, spokesman at Americans for Peace Now, has written a positively must-read analysis of the “Price Tag” tactic used by Israeli settlers in an effort to make thwarting their will and working toward peace too untenable, too painful to be contemplated. As he points out, they began by venting their anger on Israeli authorities, but that resulted in real backlash — so now they mostly take it out on Palestinians in the territories. So no one much cares.
As Ori puts it: “Price Tag has so far been a success story.”
On Monday, though, Price Tag crossed the border into northern Israel, where a Bedouin mosque was set alight. One wonders if and how that development will change the authorities’ response to the violence.
Following is an excerpt of Ori’s piece — I highly recommend that you click here to read the rest. For me, the most painful irony is that the State of Israel already revolves around the settlements and the occupation. But apparently, that’s still not enough.
“Price Tag” Terrorism Crosses the Green Line
The extremist settlers call it “Price Tag.” We have always called it by its proper name: Terrorism.
Now, Israel’s Shin Bet, the IDF’s top brass and Israeli Cabinet members agree with us. On Monday, shortly after a mosque was torched in an Israeli-Arab village in the Galilee and “Price Tag” graffiti was found nearby, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, a member of the extreme right wing Yisrael Beitenu Party, told an Israel Radio reporter that he prefers not to use the perpetrators self-serving jargon. “This is an act of terrorism,” he said.
The problem is that largely because of law enforcement negligence, a terror campaign that has been raging in the West Bank for at least three years, has now mushroomed into a widespread phenomenon – both in the West Bank and in Israel proper – that targets not only West Bank Palestinians but also Israeli Arab citizens, Israeli peace activists and Israeli law enforcement officers.
“Price Tag,” also known among its perpetrators as “Arvut Hadadit” (Mutual Responsibility), started out as a violent tactic employed by young militant Israeli settlers in the West Bank to deter Israeli law enforcement authorities from removing illegally-built structures from West Bank settlements and illegal outposts. The tactic includes attacks on Palestinians and their property, as well as attacks on Israeli military and police officers to obstruct and deter law enforcement inside settlements.
This tactic was born out of a sense of frustration among some settlers following their leadership’s inability to stop the Disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005. It gradually became a popular – and very effective – low-intensity anti-Palestinian terrorism campaign. It has recently been creeping into Israel, and is therefore increasingly viewed as a real danger by the security authorities. Israeli law enforcement authorities tend to be more tolerant of anti-Palestinian violence in the West Bank than they are of violence inside Israel. As often happens, what was tolerated in the West Bank has crossed the Green Line, and is now plaguing Israelis inside Israel.
UPDATE: If you’re really interested, you go farther down the very dispiriting “Jewish terrorists” rabbit hole with the book Jewish Terrorism in Israel – click here for my review.