Abbas slams gov't efforts on 'price tag' attacks

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
June 19, 2012 17:35

PA president responds to graffiti, arson attack on Jab'a village mosque; PM: Irresponsible lawbreakers will be brought to justice.

3 minute read.



Price Tag attack on Jab'a village mosque

Price Tag attack on Jab'a village mosque 370. (photo credit: Iad Hadad/BTzelem)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday criticized the Israeli government's record in prosecuting "Price Tag" attackers, in response to an attack on a mosque overnight.

"Price tag" assailants burned a mosque in Jab'a village, near Ramallah , police said Tuesday. The attackers also sprayed graffiti on the mosque, including the words "Ulpana war," indicating that this was a price tag attack- an act of violence by right-wing activists against Arabs aimed at deterring Israeli leadership from acting against the settlement enterprise.

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the attack, calling the assailants "intolerant and irresponsible lawbreakers" and said they would be brought to justice.

"Condemnation is not enough," said Abbas. He [Netanyahu] must stop this aggression against our places of worship and people by holding those who perpetrate these acts accountable," Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rdaineh said.

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon joined the chorus of voices condemning the attack, calling it an "outrageous, despicable and intolerable act." "We must respond with severity to the perpetrators," he said, adding that Israel must not allow tolerance for these types of incidents. 
 
Police commissioner Ch.-Insp. Yochanan Danino said recent hate crimes carried out by far-right elements were severe and had to be stopped. "Attacking religious symbols and holy sites is a grave and explosive phenomenon, which has consequences for the wider public," he said.

Danino passed down orders to police to do all that was possible to arrest the perpetrators, and to invest high levels of resources "to bring the criminals to justice and place them behind bars."

So far, two people have been charged for far-right hate crimes. Last year, police set up a national taskforce operating under the Lahav 433 unit to oversee efforts to arrest suspects.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak also spoke out strongly against the attack, calling it a "criminal act" and promising a swift response by the IDF.

"This is a grave and criminal act meant to destroy the social fabric in the region and distract the IDF from its missions, which include protecting Israeli citizens in the region," Barak said. "I have instructed the IDF and security forces to act with all available means in order to capture the perpetrators and to bring them to justice."

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called the graffiti an act of "terror," adding that such activities harm not only Israel but also the settlement enterprise.

"Just yesterday I said at a Hasbara conference that price tag attacks are illegal, immoral, and gravely undermine the image of Israel and the settlement enterprise under the gaze of the international community," Ayalon wrote on his Facebook page. "And here, this morning, we hear about another price tag attack."

"We must not allow such acts of terrorism to continue," he said.

Yesha council chair Danny Dayan also condemned the attack, calling it immoral and saying that it damages the settlement enterprise.

Sources in the IDF Central Command voiced concern that additional attacks would take place and that the overall situation would escalate ahead of the planned demolition of the Ulpana outpost by July 1. The sources said that the IDF was prepared for such an increase and was bolstering its forces in the areas where it predicted that settlers and Palestinians would clash in the coming weeks. One particular hotspot has been near the settlement of Yitzhar, which has seen several clashes between the groups in recent weeks.

Yaakov Katz, Yaakov Lappin and Melanie Lidman  contributed to this report.


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