Cars defaced in latest Jerusalem 'price tag' attack

Government weighs labeling growing number of Jewish acts of violence and vandalism on Arabs as terrorism.

May 23, 2013 19:42
1 minute read.
"Price tag" graffiti in Beit Ummar

"Price tag" graffiti in Beit Ummar 370. (photo credit: Manal Jabari/ B'Tselem)

Police said five vehicles parked on one of the main streets in the neighborhood of Gilo in east Jerusalem, were vandalized in a “price tag” attack early Thursday morning, allegedly by Jewish extremists.

Price-tag attacks are defined as acts of violence and vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces by radical Israeli settlers to exact a “price” from both parties for any actions believed to be taken against their settlements.

According to Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the tires of all five vehicles, parked on Shahar Street, were slashed late in the night and one of the cars was spraypainted with the words “price tag.” Rosenfeld said three of the vehicles are owned by Arabs and two are owned by Jews. The car with graffiti was taken to police headquarters to be examined by a forensics team.

He added that no arrests have been made yet, but that a formal investigation has been opened into the matter.

Thursday’s vandalism is the latest in an escalating pattern of similar attacks.

Indeed, Army Radio on Thursday reported a sharp increase in cases of harassment by Jews against Arabs, citing 180 incidents since January.

In 2012, the number of incidents totaled 200.

Last week, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein held a meeting to discuss the growing problem, along with representatives from the IDF, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the State Attorney’s Office.

In a statement issued by Livni and Aharonovitch’s offices, the ministries said Aharonovitch, Livni and Weinstein “see eye to eye on the need for more serious steps to be taken [against perpetrators] of such attacks.”

They added that they “see the severity of price-tag attacks seeping into Israel, and the danger inherent in damaging relations with Arab- Israelis.”

Participants at the meeting discussed harsher steps to deter such incidents, including legally defining “price-tag” incidents as acts of terror, according to sources.

In the past, Weinstein had opposed such a legal definition, but according to sources, he is weighing shifting that opinion, given that the legal deterrents currently available to police have not been sufficient to halt these crimes.

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