NGOs warn of settler violence, call for preemptive action

Human rights organizations warn security officials that the upcoming evacuation of houses in Beit El could result in ‘price tag’ actions against Palestinians

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Illustrative photo of "Price Tag" graffiti on a mosque in the village of Jaba, June 19 (Uri Lenz/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of "Price Tag" graffiti on a mosque in the village of Jaba, June 19 (Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Human rights organizations called upon Israeli security authorities Monday to prevent any “price tag” actions that may arise in the wake of a number of planned evacuations of settlers.

Several settler outposts in the West Bank are scheduled to be evacuated in the coming months, including Givat Ulpana on Tuesday. Officials fear settlers may attack Palestinians or thier property, known as “price tag” actions, in revenge for the removals.

In a letter sent on Monday entitled “The writing is on the wall,” the human rights groups asked those in charge to “prevent violence against Palestinians.” The title is a reference to anti-Arab graffiti that has become a hallmark of the price tag attacks.

The letter, signed by five groups, was sent to Defense Minister Ehud Barak; Amos Yaakov, the commander of the police in the West Bank, and GOC of the IDF’s Central Command Nitzan Alon.

The groups — Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual; Yesh Din, B’Tselem; the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI); and Rabbis for Human Rights — cautioned the three that there could be “possible settler reprisals” to upcoming evacuations and urged a “planned and proactive approach.”

The request, they said, was “based on past experience” regarding the violent deeds of reprisal by settlers known as price tag acts. In the letter they cited recent events of arson and vandalism carried out against a mosque in the village of Jaba.

Among other things, the groups demanded clear guidelines about the protection of Palestinians and their property, enforcing the law when settlers break it, preventing settlers from trespassing, and allowing Palestinian rescue services to move freely when they are needed.

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