Dozens of demonstrators gathered near the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem to protest against recent “price tag” attacks in the West Bank.
Multiple attacks have been reported in various locations over the past month. Among them was the attack in the village of Akraba 10 days ago, in which the door of a mosque was burned, and graffiti was found reading “Price Tag,” and “Revenge,” as well as the incident early Sunday morning in the village of Beit Iksa next to Jerusalem, where tires of several cars were slashed and graffiti reading “administrative revenge” was spray-painted.
The protest was organized by the antiracism NGO Tag Meir. Protesters spray painted two walls – one with actual “price tag” quotes, such as “kill or expel” and “revenge,” and the other with peaceful messages, such as “we are all human beings” and “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
Tag Meir executive director Gadi Gvaryahu told The Jerusalem Post his group came there to pressure the government to start dealing with such attacks in a more serious manner.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in these attacks in the past two months,” he said. “They are targeting innocent civilians with graffiti, slashing tires and burning cars. We are calling on the government from here to stop it,” he said.
Among the attendees was former defense minister Amir Peretz, who urged the security domain, including the Shin Bet, to see these incidents as terrorist attacks.
“There is no other way to refer to it,” he said.
“As we combat extreme Muslim terrorism, so should we fight them,” Peretz said. “They are doing everything they can to fan the flames... to spark a religious war – that if it would start, no one could control it. It will burn everything that we have built.”
Peretz said he asked Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter to call for an emergency meeting to discuss “these terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria that start with uprooting olive trees and end with hurting the holy of holies of other people.
“What can we say in light of the fact that we see that Jews are daring, in the name of our religion [to do such things]. If this is their god, then they are not worthy. This is not the god we follow; we want our religion to bring people together.”
Peretz criticized the lack of condemnation of their actions.
“The silence is legitimizing these acts,” he said. “I also don’t see that these people are immediately arrested. I don’t see overnight arrests, as we see with other terrorists. A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist – period.”
At the beginning of the protest, a right-wing activist arrived and criticized the demonstrators for protesting only for Arabs’ rights but remaining silent when Jewish synagogues come under arson attacks.
“Where were you when the Karmei Tzur synagogue was burned,” he shouted at them, referring to last month’s arson attack there.
However, a Tag Meir activist told him they did arrive at the place after the attack, adding that they condemn any sort of violent activity.
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