The precedential "price tag"
activity that targeted an IDF
base in the West Bank has caused a stir in the military, prompting IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz
to call the vandals "extremist criminals," and promise that they are to be apprehended soon.
Anonymous assailants broke into a military base in the Binyamin region on Tuesday night, destroying 13 army jeeps and spray painting them with the words "Ramat Migron" and "Binyamin Brigade Commander – bad for the Jews".
"I am saddened that I must address the severe defacement incident that occurred in Judea and Samaria," Gantz said during a naval officers' graduation ceremony, held in Haifa on Wednesday night. "All off us – commanders, soldiers and civilians – remember and remind that the IDF is not the enemy.
"The IDF is the protector that operates within the law and in accordance with the government's instructions. I am certain that the perpetrators of the act will be caught."
PM Netanyahu at the ceremony (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
also spoke at the ceremony, which marked the graduation of 40 naval cadets from the naval officers course.
In light of Turkey's threat
to step up its naval deployment to the Eastern Mediterranean, and Home Front Command Chief Maj-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg's recent warning of an impending regional war,
Netanyahu addressed the turbulent times ahead.
"Strong winds are blowing in the region, and they carry hopes and dangers alike," he said. "We cannot predict which regimes will replace those that have fallen, and those that are yet to fall. A thick fog has engulfed the Middle East, and Israel is a lighthouse within it… In our region, peace is not made with the weak and the servile, it is made through direct negotiations with a strong and proud Israel."
Netanyahu repeated his invitation for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
to return to the negotiating table – "in Jerusalem, in Ramallah, or even at sea."
The prime minister also used the opportunity to note that Israel did not choose to enter a diplomatic crisis with Turkey. "We appreciate the Turkish people and their heritage," he said, but continued to reiterate his support for the IDF's actions in the Gaza flotilla
"Especially for the sake of the Navy troops, who stopped the attempt to break the marimtime embargo on Gaza's terror regime, I must say loud and clear: Israel's just way is its best strategic asset.
"We rely on this just way in operations at sea, when you protect Israel's shores and when you are called to stop flotillas to Gaza, thus preventing Gaza missile fire on Israeli citizens," he told the graduating officers. "We sent you, we are proud of you and you are our glory."
The incident, as well as other "price tag" incidents against Palestinian targets in the West Bank, has also prompted Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino to form a special task force comprised of Lahav 443 and Judea and Samaria Subdistrict Police detectives, dedicated to investigating and preventing "price tag" activities.