Since 2011, there have been repeated attacks carried out by extremist Israeli settlers in reprisal for Israeli government action against illegal settlement activity. These attacks, often referred to as “price tag” incidents, target mosques, churches, Arab and Jewish homes and property, Israeli military bases and vehicles, as well as other settlers. They involve the desecration of property with anti-Arab and anti-government slogans including the phrase “price tag”, often accompanied by hateful and racist slogans, the name of an illegal settlement, or a reference to an Israeli casualty of Palestinian terrorism, the implication being that the violent incident is the “cost” of Israeli government action on settlements or for anti-Israeli violence.
In recent months, Israeli police have established a special unit tasked with cracking down on those committing price tag assaults. The unit has thus far had some minimal success.
On July 2, 2013, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced that price tag attacks would henceforth be defined as “illegal organizing” and treated in a similar fashion to acts of terror. Additionally, the Israeli Ministry of Education and the General Security Services (GSS) recently launched an educational program, called Hebrew Shepard, designed to work with the so-called Hilltop Youth (teenage Israeli settlers who are involved in establishing illegal outposts outside of existing settlements) to dissuade them from carrying out price tag attacks.
Many top Israeli leaders have condemned the price tag phenomenon, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres and other senior elected officials, religious leaders and members of civil society.
ADL has also taken a strong public position on the issue, and has repeatedly issued unqualified condemnations of price tag attacks, called on law enforcement officials to investigate suspected incidents and prosecute those responsible, and encouraged prominent Israel political, religious and societal leaders to speak out against the underlying hatred and racism that motivates price tag attacks.
The following are the most recent major price tag attacks:
February 19, 2014 - Beit Safafa - 30 cars had their tires slashed, and graffiti reading "Arabs=thieves" and "there is no coexistence" was found spray painted on a nearby wall.
February 10, 2014 - Jerusalem - Eighteen cars and a bus had their tires slashed in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. The words “Arab labor = assimilation!” were found spray painted on a nearby wall.
January 15, 2014 - Deir Istiya (West Bank) - A mosque was set on fire, and its walls spray-painted with the slogans "Arabs out," "Hi from Qusra" and "Revenge for spilled blood at Qusra," a reference to an incident from the previous week where a number of Jewish settlers were beaten and apprehended after trespassing into private property in the Qusra village.