PM: 'Price tag' attacks contradict values of Jewish people and state

Netanyahu condemns Abu Ghosh attack in which 28 cars vandalized, houses sprayed with graffiti.

June 18, 2013 14:50
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, April 21, 2013.

Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: Amit Shabi/Yediot Ahronot, pool)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned Monday night's "price tag" attack in Abu Ghosh, saying that it is contradictory to the values and people of Israel and Judaism.

"Just this week we passed decisions that will enable us to take strong action against those who perpetrate such crimes, and we will do so with full force," the prime minister added.

Meanwhile, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said Tuesday that arrests of those responsible for the alleged "price tag" attack in Abu Ghosh will be made "very soon."

"What people don't understand is that it's not the spraying or the graffiti, this sort of act can spark conflict in Israel and beyond it," Danino told Army Radio. "This is why we place this high on our list of priorities."

Unknown assailants overnight on Monday punctured the tires of some 28 vehicles in the Arab village of Abu Ghosh, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. "Arabs go home" was sprayed on the walls of the village.

Police were investigating the incident.

President Shimon Peres condemned the attack, labeling it as "a racist behavior that constitutes the crossing of a red line."

Peres called Abu Ghosh Council head Salim Jaber, who assured him that "this act done by a small group will not change the ways of the people of Abu Ghosh, who love the Jewish nation and the state of Israel."

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich also condemned the attack, saying that these attacks cause serious damage to Israel's reputation throughout the world, and also affect the relationship between Jews and Arabs.

"The attacks are crimes of hate," Yacimovich said. "It is imperative that security forces do what they can to bring justice."

She added that Israel must use all resources to control this group of people who damage the state, and have no regard for the law.

Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said "price tag" attacks were "immoral and un-Jewish acts."

"There is a small group of malicious people who want to destroy every chance of good neighborly life between Jews and Arabs in the country," Bennett wrote on Facebook, adding these people enable those who hate Israel to tarnish its reputation.

"We will not allow them to succeed," he vowed.

Shas MKs Arye Deri and David Azoulay toured Abu Ghosh following the attacks to show their support to the village's residents.

"Any such act of violence pushes the peace and brotherhood between [Jews and Arabs] away," Azoulay said.

"The perpetrators of this crime dishonor God's name, and there is no penance for this," Deri added.

The security cabinet on Sunday night strengthened law enforcement’s ability to combat the growing phenomenon of “price-tag” attacks by declaring their perpetrators an “illegal association.”

But it failed to take the added step of legally classifying the attacks as acts of terror and those involved as terrorists.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the decision “significantly expands the investigative and judicial tools available to the security forces and law enforcement authorities against so-called ‘price-tag’ actions.”

The new measures include stiffer sentencing and lengthier prison terms, according to an Israeli official.

The PMO explained that the security cabinet “authorized Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to use his authority under defense regulations to declare ‘price-tag’ activists an illegal association.”

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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