Skip to main content

Why doesn't Netanyahu label price tag attacks as terrorism?

Participants of the 14th Herzliya Conference criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for persisting in refusing to define settlers who commit "price tag" attacks as members of a terror organization.
An Israeli police officer stands inside a burnt mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangariya in northern Israel October 3, 2011, before the arrival of Israel's President Shimon Peres. They strike in the dead of night, setting fire to mosques and daubing their walls with "Price Tag" graffiti, the defiant slogan of Israeli settlers waging a vigilante campaign branded as "un-Jewish" by President Shimon Peres.   The "price-taggers" have vowed to avenge any move by Israeli authorities to uproot settlement out
Read in 

It took Shin Bet and the police an entire year to track down an 18-year-old youth from the Yitzhar settlement for participating in hate crimes in Abu Ghosh village, near Jerusalem. In June 2013, he had punctured the tires of 34 cars in the village and spray-painted such racist epithets as “Arabs get out” on the walls of houses. Three weeks ago, at the conclusion of an undercover investigation, authorities succeeded in tracking down the youth and connecting him to the acts. On June 8, a bill of indictment was filed against him in Jerusalem’s district court.

That it took a long time for the police and Shin Bet to locate the perpetrator of the act is typical. It is well-known that only a small percentage of so-called price tag (hate crime) attacks are ever solved. Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonowitz have all been demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declare perpetrators of price tag attacks as members of a terrorist organization. Due to right-wing political pressure in recent weeks, however, Netanyahu once again rejected such demands, preferring instead to leave intact a previous decision, adopted in June 2013 by the diplomatic-security cabinet, that categorizes price tag participants as an “unauthorized organization,” similar to the charity organizations connected to Palestinian terror.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.