Cabinet may define ‘price tag’ as terror attacks

Livni, Aharonovitch "see eye to eye on the need for more serious steps to be taken" to deal with "price tag" attacks.

"Price tag" graffiti in Beit Ummar 370 (photo credit: Manal Jabari/ B'Tselem)
"Price tag" graffiti in Beit Ummar 370
(photo credit: Manal Jabari/ B'Tselem)
The cabinet may discuss classifying “price-tag” attacks as “acts of terror,” so as to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to deal with the growing number of such incidents, according to political sources.
The Prime Minister’s Office could not confirm if the topic would be on the cabinet’s agenda.
In advance of such a cabinet discussion, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein held a meeting on the subject Thursday, 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 Thursday night, the ministries said that in regards to price-tag attacks, Aharonovitch, Livni and Weinstein “see eye to eye on the need for more serious steps to be taken, including making sure law enforcement have the tools at hand to deal with the criminals responsible.”
They also said that they “see with severity the seeping of price-tag attacks 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 political sources.
In the past, Weinstein has opposed such a legal definition, but according to sources, he is weighing shifting that opinion, given that the legal tools available have not been able to halt the price-tag incidents.
Livni and Aharonovitch will hold a follow-up meeting on the matter in the near future.
On Tuesday, following the torching of three cars and the defacement of a mosque in a Wadi Ara village the night before, Aharonovitch said, “I view with grave severity any efforts toward incitement or to hurt people. We won’t stop until we find those responsible,” adding that police will take steps to increase their ability to prevent future such attacks.
MK Orit Stuck (Bayit Yehudi) attacked the idea of elevating price-tag attacks to incident of terror.
“They are looking for terror in the wrong place,” she said.
Instead of worrying about graffiti, they should be concerned by the persistent attacks by Palestinians against Israelis in Judea and Samaria, including stone-throwing and Molotov cocktails.
The discussion happened, she said, just one day after a Palestinian threw a Molotov cocktail at a jeep in Judea and Samaria, wounding four soldiers.
“I have not seen them do anything against the real terror in Judea and Samaria,” she said.
Already on Wednesday, MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) called for the government to declare price-tag attacks as terrorist acts.
Reut Mor – the spokeswoman for Yesh Din, a group promoting human rights for Palestinians under Israeli control – said in response to the reports that “during the same week that the state informed the High Court of its intention to retroactively approve four illegal outposts built partially on private Palestinian land, the comments by the justice minister and the public security minister about classifying settler violence as terrorism seem like hollow statements.”
“This initiative, which is a repeat of past such initiatives, is out of touch with reality – a fight against terror is judged by actions not words. It is the obligation of the state to provide security to the protected population under its control, an obligation that it fails to uphold again and again,” Mor stated.