Netanyahu condemns settlers’ ‘price tag’ violence

“People cannot take the law into their own hands, that is not their job,” prime minister says.

By
March 9, 2011 02:38
2 minute read.
Netanyahu with soldiers near Jordan

Netanyahu with soldiers near Jordan 311. (photo credit: Moshe Milner / GPO)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned alleged violence carried out by far-Right activists in the past week under the guise of the so-called “price tag” reprisal policy, saying the whole concept was completely unacceptable.

“We don’t have private militias,” the prime minister said, during a tour of the Jordan Valley intended to stress the area’s strategic importance for Israeli security.

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“People cannot take the law into their own hands, that is not their job.”

The “price tag” policy refers to intermittent violence against Palestinians that has occurred following IDF actions against illegal settlement outposts. These actions have ranged from smashing windows to stoning Arab cars.

He spoke in the aftermath of a number of such attacks by extreme right-wing activists, including throwing a Molotov cocktail into a Palestinian home, to protest the demolition of three structures at Gilad Farm last week.

“I unequivocally reject this concept and those who break the law will be dealt with accordingly,” Netanyahu said.

He words drew both a comment of support and condemnation from Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

“I agree that the price tag policy is a moral and tactical disaster,” Dayan said. “It is in opposition to Jewish moral values and it damages the settlement enterprise.

“But I would expect that as we condemn the price tag policy we would expect Netanyahu to condemn the excessive use of force and of arms at Gilad Farm,” Dayan said.

He is among a number of settler leaders and right-wing politicians who have attacked the Border Police for firing plastic bullets at settlers who tried to prevent the Gilad Farm demolitions last week, even though such bullets are considered to be a standard riot dispersal tool by police.

To underscore the severity of the use of such bullets, Benny Katzover, who heads the Samaria Citizens Committee sent a plastic bullet to the head of the security detail for the prime minister and asked that it be presented through them to Netanyahu.

In his letter, Katzover said that he believed Netanyahu was unaware of the severity of the weapon. He asked that an external investigation be held into the Gilad Farm incident and the use of such arms.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, meanwhile, defended the actions of the Border Police that day. Speaking in the south on Tuesday, Aharonovitch said that he would not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands.

He added that issues of enforcement in Judea and Samaria as well as protests against such actions would continue to be a central part of the public debate.

He spoke specifically about the “Day of Rage” last Thursday in which activists blocked roads in Jerusalem, Latrun, Ben-Gurion Airport and a number of places in the West Bank.

“The whole subject of the Day of Rage, I won’t be deterred by it,” said Aharonovitch. “They should be angry with themselves for their behavior.

“Anyone who thinks that they can come and block roads that the police won’t be there [is mistaken.] The police will be there and they will arrest them and they will prosecute them,” he said.

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