3 settlers indicted for ‘price tag’ attack

3 settlers indicted for ‘price tag’ attack

Two of the men admit to torching Palestinian cars; police have been struggling to prosecute suspects accused of such acts

Mitch Ginsburg is the former Times of Israel military correspondent.

A 'price tag' attack in the village of Sinjil, near Ramallah, January 09, 2014.  (photo credit: Arik Ascherman/Rabbis for Human Rights)
A 'price tag' attack in the village of Sinjil, near Ramallah, January 09, 2014. (photo credit: Arik Ascherman/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Three Israelis from a northern West Bank outpost were indicted Wednesday for a so-called “price tag” attack, the Shin Bet security service announced in a statement.

The men, all from Chavat Gilad, an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank, were charged with the November 19 torching of two Palestinian cars in the village of Farata and the spraying of Stars of David on walls within the village.

The far-right group and others like it, the Shin Bet said, sought to advance its ideological goals “at the cost of casting fear over government decisions and sowing terror among the Palestinian population.”

The three men awaiting trial are Yehuda Landsberg, Binyamin Richter and Yehuda Savir.

Landsberg, the eldest of the group, was born in 1989 and arrested on January 19. He is a married father of three and had several arrests on his record. “However, on each occasion, not enough evidence was amassed in order to bring him to trial,” the Shin Bet said.

Richter, born in 1991 and single, was also questioned on several occasions and investigated on two charges of violent assault. He was sentenced to travel restrictions, apparently barring him from the area. On January 25, he was arrested along with Savir, who is AWOL from the army.

Landsberg copped to the crime during his Shin Bet questioning and named his two accomplices. Savir did the same. Richter refused to cooperate and maintained his right to silence.

During the course of the investigation, the Shin Bet said, the organization learned of a plan to perpetrate an illegal act in the Palestinian village of Madma, “in a manner that, had it been carried out in real time, could have caused a violent conflagration.”

Over the past several years the villages around Nablus and other parts of the northern West Bank have been the scene of such “price tag” attacks, targeting Palestinian property and holy sites. The army, the police and the Shin Bet have been struggling to bring suspected perpetrators to trial.

Besides harming Palestinian property and people, the Shin Bet said, the attacks have also forced the intelligence organization to divert “considerable manpower” to the phenomenon and caused “grave damage to Israel’s image in the international arena.”

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