“Price-tag” attacks must be classified as acts of terrorism, said a small group
of Israeli Jews and Arabs as they jointly rallied Sunday morning in front of the
Prime Minister’s Office during the weekly cabinet meeting, in hopes of swaying
the government to further clamp down on such incidents.
“We are here
across from the PM to call for him and the government to stop the price tag
attacks. It can’t be that for four years Jewish terror cells have run
amuck in the state of Israel without being disturbed,” said Gadi Gvaryahu, who
heads the grassroots organizations Tag Meir, that combats Price Tag
According to informal numbers collected by Tag Meir, there have
been at least 176 incidents in the last three years in which Jewish extremists
have targeted Arab or Christian property including mosques and churches on both
sides of the pre-1967 lines, and in some cases, executed personal attacks.
Migrants have also been targeted, according to Tag Meir.
that these numbers are very low, because many incidents are unreported or not
formally characterized as price tag attacks.
“You have to destroy the
rotos of these organizations and to declare them terrorist organizations in
every way,” said Ibrahim Wassil, the deputy head of the Israeli Arab city of
Baka al-Gharbiyye near Hadera.
Earlier this month, vandals, assumed to be
Jewish extremists, sprayed graffiti such as “Mohammed is a pig” on the walls of
a mosque in Baka al-Gharbiyye.
“We have come here across from the Prime
Minister’s Office and across from the decision makers to make our voice heard,”
said Wassil as he read from a prepared statement.
Price tag attacks are a
cancer that is growing in Israel society, he said, as he urged Netanyahu to say
“yes” to democracy and peace by bringing the perpetrators to
Ahmed Milchem, who heads the Popular Council in Wadi Arra said
the Bakka al-Gharbiyya was part of an alarming escalation in which attacks were
now taking places in cities instead of isolated villages. There is no reason to
refrain from classifying these attacks as acts of terror, he said.
had gone into Hadera and done this kind of thing, they would have caught me in
five or six hours and declared that I was a terrorist,” said Milchem.
June, the Security Cabinet declared price tag perpetrators to be an “illegal
association” and strengthened the ability of law enforcement to act against
them. But it failed to legally classify the attacks as terrorism.
issue of price tag attacks was not on the cabinet’s agenda on Sunday. But the
rally was organized together with the Public Forum to Protect the Holy Places in
the Land of the Prophets, out of concern that the situation is spiraling out of
The attackers are brasher and the public is becoming apathetic,
said Gvaryahu. He noted that the scant attention was paid to two attacks that
occurred in December.
Gvaryahu said just this month that 40 cars were
vandalized in the Israeli Arab village of Akbara, which is connected to the city
of Safed. Among the slogans were the words, “Arabs out.”
In the West
Bank, a Palestinian home in the village of Sinjil was set on fire, sending five
children to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
On Sunday morning at the
Jerusalem rally, the small group of Jews, Muslims and Christians held painted
signs with the names of villages that had been attacked and applauded the
Gvaryahu said the rally was just the first of what would be a
number of collaborative Jewish, Muslim and Christian events to place the issue
back on the public agenda.