|Price tag attack in Fureidis Photo: Hassan Shaalan|
Israel intensifies campaign against 'price tag' attackers
AG says administrative detention without trial permissible; Livni behind law amendment allowing judges to impose stiffer jail sentences.
Israel is beginning to take intensive action to end "price tag" attacks by far-right extremists, which have systemically targeted Christian and Muslim property, as well as on frequent occasions the IDF.
In December 2013, the government defined the movement behind the attacks as an "illegal association". Since then, there has been an increase in violent incidents against Arabs on both sides of the Green Line. Since the start of this year, the police unit for nationalist crimes, which investigates price tag attacks, has opened 78 new files, arrested 102 suspects and served 37 indictments.
In a recent internal debate on the issue, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein clarified that, in "special and suitable instances of law-breaking", where there is intelligence and administrative evidence of involvement in hate crimes, it is permissible to detain suspects for an extended period under administration detention, without trial.
"It is clear today that this is to all intents and purposes a terrorist cell," said a senior figure in Israel's judiciary.
"There are several dozen activists from Judea and Samaria, mostly from Yitzhar and the surrounding hills who are perpetrating these serious incidents," says a senior police officer. "We know who they are, more or less."
On Friday there were two more hate crime attacks against Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem. An Arab family living in the Old City had "Death to Arabs" written on their front door in black marker. On the wall of the nearby Roman Catholic church, attackers spray-painted the slogans "price tag", "King David for the Jews" and "Jesus is trash."
Meanwhile, Eliraz Fein, a young woman from Yitzhar, was arrested last week for an email exchange in which she advocated for the killing of IDF soldiers in certain circumstances.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich will in the near future to present ministers with the findings they have gathered since December, when "price tags" were given their new definition. The government is set to request that the movement behind the "price tag" attacks be defined as a terrorist organization, a move that significantly steps up state efforts to counter this phenomenon.
A discussion last week attended by representatives of the Justice and Internal Security Ministries, the IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police, Livni raised the calls to kill soldiers that have been espoused by certain members of Yitzhar.
"These aren't things said in Hamas headquarters, but in a Jewish community – in Yitzhar," said Livni. "Those who remained silent in the face of these hate crimes against Arabs is now finding the same crimes directed at IDF soldiers."
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation was set to meet Sunday to discuss a bill proposal by Livni to expedite legal proceedings against "price tag" suspects.
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