Price tag offenders 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
As a result of Monday’s and Tuesday’s “price-tag” actions in the Jordan Valley
and against the IDF, the government will significantly beef up intelligence
efforts among right-wing extremists and increase the number of people to be
barred from the West Bank.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened an
urgent meeting of top IDF, police, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and justice
officials after the attack Tuesday morning on an IDF base in Samaria, to develop
a plan to deal with these types of actions.
On Monday evening, a group of
about 30 people allegedly broke into a closed military zone on the Jordanian
border, occupying an old building and attempting to establish a settlement
Later that night, 17 of the activists were arrested, including
On Tuesday morning, 50 activists allegedly entered an IDF
base in the West Bank, hurled rocks at brigade commander Col. Ran Cahana,
punctured tires of military vehicles and burned tires.
One was arrested
on suspicion of obstructing the entrance to the base with stones. Such incidents
have been dubbed “price-tag” attacks because they are carried out in response to
government actions against illegal settlement outposts.
IDF and police
officials briefed those at the meeting and spoke of an intelligence failure that
had enabled the extremists to breach the security fence with Jordan. As a
result, teams are to be established to provide better intelligence about future
In addition, it was agreed that the number of people barred from
the territories would be increased.
In September, OC Central Command
Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi issued orders against 13 settlers, banning them from
entering the West Bank.
Such orders are issued when the IDF and Shin Bet
obtain intelligence information regarding a suspect but the information is not
enough to press charges in court. This number is now expected to rise to
In addition, Justice Ministry officials are expected to draw up
directives that will characterize price-tag attacks as terrorism, giving the
authorities more leeway in going after suspects. They will also issue directives
to the courts not to be lenient with those convicted of these
Netanyahu spoke forcefully against the events, at a Jerusalem
speech to a National Defense College alumni event Tuesday evening – the third
time during the day that he went on record about the occurrences, and an obvious
effort to signal the gravity with which he viewed them.
“We need to stop
bad things when they are small, and this is small and we will stop it now,” he
“Nobody has any justification or excuse for not obeying the
Netanyahu stressed in his comments that those involved were a very
small minority and did not represent the vast majority of Jews living beyond the
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement first thing in
the morning, saying that Netanyahu directed the security forces to act
aggressively against anyone attacking IDF soldiers. He said the incident
deserved complete condemnation, and that IDF forces needed to focus on defending
the country’s citizens, and not dealing with this type of “infuriating
A few hours later, at a memorial ceremony in the Knesset
for former speaker Dov Shilansky, Netanyahu said there was a small group in the
country that talked about “ideological crime.”
“There is no ideological
crime,” Netanyahu said.
“There is only crime. No one has the right to
break the law, or to raise his hand against an IDF soldier or policeman. The law
is the foundation of democracy.”
Netanyahu said those faithful to the
Land of Israel, inside the settlements and outside of them, understood that
principle, and that he would not tolerate the type of lawlessness evident over
the last two days.
And then again, at a speech in the Knesset plenum
marking 50 years since the Eichmann trial, Netanyahu reiterated these
sentiments, saying that being “faithful to the Land of Israel” did not cancel
out loyalty to the state and its laws. He said that the law must be enforced,
and that those attacking IDF soldiers needed to be fully punished so Israeli
sovereignty would not be harmed.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that
such attacks “have the characteristics of homegrown terror” and would not be
tolerated. “We will capture those involved, and they will stand trial,” he
These activities, he said, endangered lives and “threaten to
damage the delicate relations Israel has with its neighbors.”
Harkov and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.