The dovish Israeli NGO Peace Now will lead a series of tours focusing on Palestinian villages and locations in the West Bank that have been the targets of “price tag” attacks carried out by Israeli settlers.
The pro-peace group sent out an invitation to its various associates, calling on them to join an organized visit to sites that were spray-painted with inflammatory phrases or which were the targets of arson attempts, Maariv reported on Tuesday.
“There is a notable thirst, especially among students and other young people, to observe the reality with their own eyes,” Peace Now’s director, Yariv Oppenheimer, was quoted as saying.
“Our goal is to present the geopolitical picture and to demonstrate that the expansion of settlements undermines prospects for peace, as well as to show the impact of settlements and outposts on life in the area, to expose the public to the harassment taking place there,” he said.
Fearing that extremist right-wing factors will attempt to sabotage the tour, Peace Now has not published the date of the upcoming West Bank visit, the report said.
“Price tag” attacks, acts of vandalism usually performed against Palestinian property and typically carried out by Jewish nationalists in retribution for government moves, have become increasingly common in recent years. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and Israeli military bases have been targeted in such attacks.
Israeli officials have vowed to crack down on the attacks.
Earlier this month, a key cabinet committee rejected a bill that aimed to define “price tag” attacks as acts of terrorism.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Labor MK Eitan Cabel, would amend the legal definition of “terror” to all acts of nationalistic, religious, or ideological intent and would make the penalties for these attacks far more severe.
Israeli officials have increasingly referred to anti-Arab “price tag” attacks as terrorism in recent months.
“The unacceptable trend, known as ‘price tag,’ is in my opinion terror in every sense of the word, and we are acting and will continue to act against the perpetrators, firmly and with zero tolerance, in order to eradicate it,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on January 8. “It is a stain on Israel and it undermines the settlement enterprise.”
UN figures published earlier this month indicate that the annual rate of Jewish extremist attacks against Palestinians has almost quadrupled over the past eight years, including cutting down trees, defacing mosques and churches and beating Palestinian farmers.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.