Ministers seek to label ‘price tag’ attacks ‘terrorism’

Livni and Aharonovich aim to curb surge of Jewish extremist attacks that ‘threaten to undermine relations with Israeli Arabs’

Illustrative photo of a price tag attack, a form of Jewish incitement against Arabs (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a price tag attack, a form of Jewish incitement against Arabs (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Likud-Beytenu) announced that they will present to the Cabinet next week a proposal that would classify “price tag” attacks as acts of terror.

After meeting with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein Thursday, Livni and Aharonovich said their plan would increase the tools at police disposal in the battle against a rising number of attacks by Jewish extremists on non-Jewish targets including church properties, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians in the West Bank.

In the budget passed by the Cabinet earlier in the week, Aharonovich’s ministry was allotted funds for an additional 50 police officers to specifically fight nationalist crime, including the so-called “price tag” attacks.

“Price tag” is a term used by extremist Jewish Israelis to describe attacks carried out against Palestinians, the military and other targets as “punishment” for Israeli government decisions they perceive as being oriented against settlers. The attacks mean to exact a “price” for government actions the extremists oppose like outpost demolitions.

The most recent such attacks took place on Monday night in the the Arab village of Umm al-Qutuf in the Wadi Ara region and in the northern city of Safed.

Aharonovich condemned those attacks and pledged that police would apprehend the perpetrators. He said the sole purpose of such acts was to escalate tension between Arabs and Jews.

Livni has pledged to crack down on “price tag” extremism, which, she said, “harms the entire Israeli society, goes against Israel’s democratic values, and represents racism at its worst.”

A statement released by Livni’s office on Thursday said that she, Aharonovich and Weinstein “see price tag attacks as a very grave matter… that threatens to undermine relations with Israeli Arabs.”

The statement said the “professional authorities have been instructed to use all of the means at their disposal to fight this phenomenon.”

Ron Friedman contributed to this report.

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