Should ‘price tag’ attacks be considered terror?

Some should, others shouldn’t, but crafting a law that makes this distinction may be difficult. Do we really want to equate spray-painted slogans with suicide bombings?

May 28, 2013 17:02
Car with "price tag" graffiti [file]

Car with punctured tires, "price tag" graffiti [File]. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)


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The Israeli government is currently debating whether to designate so-called “price tag” attacks as “acts of terror.” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch reportedly favor the move, as does the Shin Bet security service; Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein used to be opposed, but is considering changing his mind; Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has thus far also been opposed. Both sides have valid arguments. The question is whether there’s any way to craft the designation that would preserve the benefits while avoiding the drawbacks.

The immediate benefit of a terrorist designation is that it would give law enforcement agencies greater tools to cope with attacks that have damaged both Israel’s image overseas and its efforts to keep the peace in the West Bank. But another consideration might be equally important in the long run: Not doing so could undermine Israel’s goal of promoting a clear, uniform standard for what constitutes terror.


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