Israel is not managing to stop “price tag” nationalist crimes against Arabs, because it does not have the desire to do so, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Carmi Gillon said on Saturday.
“We don’t see results because we don’t have the intention to,” Gillon said, adding that in the Shin Bet “there’s no such thing as can’t – there’s don’t want to.”
Speaking at a cultural event in Beersheba, Gillon said the phenomenon could be halted quickly.
“If the head of the Shin Bet decides to deal with a certain issue, there will be results. Just like there was with the Jewish underground – back then we dealt with them as terrorist groups.”
Gillon headed the Shin Bet from 1994 to 1996 – during which period a far-right Jewish extremist assassinated then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit also spoke at the event, saying in regard to “price tag” attacks that “Israel doesn’t enforce its laws.”
The harsh words for Israeli law enforcement came as yet another suspected “price tag” incident took place, this time near the settlement of Bat Ayin in the West Bank – where more than 30 olive tree saplings were uprooted and anti-Arab graffiti were painted on rocks.
Also on Saturday, an Arab resident of Acre reported that his car’s tires were punctured and a Star of David spray-painted on the vehicle while he was parked in Nahal Hashofet in northern Israel.
These incidents follow a series of back-to-back acts of anti-Arab vandalism within the Green Line in the past few weeks, which have led to protests in the Arab sector and condemnation from a series of Israeli politicians.
Late last week, police arrested a husband and wife from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar on suspicion of taking part in the attempted torching of an Umm el-Fahm mosque in a “price tag” attack last month.
The two suspects, Amihai Matuki, 37, and his wife Nira, 33, the parents of five children, were ordered to be kept in custody by a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge – Amihai until Sunday and Nira until Friday.
Two of the couple’s neighbors from Yitzhar were also arrested on Wednesday as part of the case. The couple was arrested after their car was believed to have been spotted near the scene of the crime.
On Saturday, police announced that they had arrested two people, a man from Ramle and a woman from Jaffa, when they were caught in the act of spraying red paint on an Israeli flag on Olei Tzion street in Jaffa. Police believe they were responsible for the spray-painting of 60 flags along Yehuda Hayamit street last week.
Last Thursday, Israel Police Insp.- Gen. Yohanan Danino addressed the recent spate of price tag nationalist attacks within the Green Line, saying that the police are determined to make arrests and to stop these “explosive” attacks.
“The severity of nationalist crimes that have occurred recently is obvious and they can potentially have an explosive influence on the sensitive relations between the different populations in Israel,” Danino said.
He added: “Therefore the Israel Police has stepped up its enforcement efforts and we are determined to solve these crimes and make arrests. I am convinced there will be results in the near future.”
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