Police investigate alleged ‘price tag’ attack

E. J’lem cars set ablaze in second such attack in three weeks, police find words "price tag" found spray-painted on wall nearby.

Tag Mehir graffiti 370 (photo credit: Iyad Hadad, B'tselem)
Tag Mehir graffiti 370
(photo credit: Iyad Hadad, B'tselem)
Police are investigating whether Israeli extremists are responsible for setting two cars ablaze Friday, in the second alleged “price tag” attack in east Jerusalem in roughly three weeks.
According to Police spokesman Ch.-Insp. Micky Rosenfeld, the words “price tag” were found spray-painted on a wall near where the fire was set in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
“Police units arrived at the scene in the early hours of Friday and found two vehicles set on fire,” he said Saturday.
“One was completely destroyed and the other was partly burned. A forensics unit also arrived [to study the graffiti].”
Rosenfeld said no one was injured in the attack and no arrests have been made, although a formal investigation has been opened into the matter.
On May 23, five vehicles parked on one of the main streets in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo were also vandalized in an alleged price tag attack.
Police said the tires of all five vehicles, parked on Shahar Street, were slashed late in the night, and one of the cars was spray-painted with the words “price tag.” Price-tag attacks are defined as acts of violence and vandalism against Palestinians or Israeli security forces by radical Israeli settlers to exact a “price” from both parties for any actions believed to be taken against their settlements.
Friday’s vandalism is the latest in an escalating pattern of similar attacks that have forced politicians to reconsider their handling of the growing problem.
Last month Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein and members of the IDF, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the State Attorney’s Office held a meeting to discuss the escalating violence.
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.