Jerusalem police arrest suspect in 'price tag' attacks on Peace Now offices
Police also looking into whether suspect was involved in the spraying of death threats on the walls of Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran's apartment.
Jerusalem District Police arrested late Tuesday a man suspected of vandalizing Peace Now offices in Jerusalem.
Police are also checking whether the suspect, 21 and a resident of a settlement near Jerusalem, was involved in the spraying of death threats on the apartment building of Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran, in what has been classified as a "Price Tag" attack.
A gag order on the case was lifted on Wednesday.
The suspect is currently undergoing a hearing as to whether his arrest will be extended.
"Price Tag" is the name given by extremists to activities against Palestinians, peace activists or security forces in response to what are considered to be actions against the settlements or illegal outposts in the West Bank.
Ofran woke up Tuesday to find calls for her death on the walls of her apartment building in Jerusalem. Sprayed in red were the words, "Ofran, Rabin is waiting for you."
Earlier this week, Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now's general director, slammed the police for "not doing enough to prevent these things from recurring," after graffiti was sprayed on the gate leading to the movement's offices in Jerusalem. Peace Now officials registered a complaint with the police, but two days later, more "Price Tag" slogans were again sprayed in the same place. Furthermore, Peace Now received intercom messages warning that a bomb was planted in the building. There were no arrests following any of these incidents.
The threats yesterday on Ofran's building were probably in response to the evacuation earlier this week by security forces of the Oz Zion illegal outpost near Beit El, and the government's decision to soon evacuate the Givat Assaf outpost, also in the same area. The slogans read: "the revenge of Givat Assaf," "regards from Oz Zion," and "death to Hagit Ofran."
Slogans calling for the death of Ofran, the Settlement Watch director with Peace Now, were first sprayed on her door in the beginning of September, probably following the evacuation of several illegal houses in Migron a few days earlier. The slogans read "Price Tag Migron," "Suppression of traitors" and "Peace Now the end is near." This time the extremists spared her door, but a car not belonging to Ofran, which happened to have a bumper sticker reading "Peace" was damaged. The car's tires were punctured and slogans were sprayed on it including "Price tag" - spelled wrong.
Among the slogans sprayed yesterday - on the eve of the official Yitzhak Rabin Remembrance Day - was "Rabin is waiting for you," a play on the murdered prime minister's last campaign slogan: "Israel is waiting for Rabin."
"I was at home when the neighbors knocked on my door and showed me the graffiti," recalled Ofran. "It's not frightening, but definitely it's a worrying sign. They're trying to intimidate us, but they won't succeed," said Ofran.
The police created a special investigation crew which was ordered to concentrate specifically on direct suspects. The police and Shin Bet (security forces) told Haaretz that they will try to determine whether there was any connection between the event yesterday and the event in the beginning of September, but officials refused to comment on any security steps being taken following the recurrence of the slogan spraying and death threats.
According to the police and Shin Bet, the latest event took place sometime between 1:30 AM and 5:00 AM on Tuesday. A neighbor testified yesterday that at around 4:30 in the morning he saw a car hastily leaving the parking lot and driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street, before turning around.
קראו כתבה זו בעברית: נעצר חשוד בריסוס כתובות ההסתה על משרדי תנועת שלום עכשיו בירושלים