For the second time in less than two months, a senior official of Peace Now, Hagit Ofran received death threats. Yesterday morning Ofran woke up to find calls for her death on the walls of her apartment building in Jerusalem. This was the most recent incident in a series of "Price Tag" actions aimed at Peace Now activists in Jerusalem throughout the past couple of months.
"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.
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.
The death threats drew a wave of angry comments yesterday, mostly aimed at the police and the government. Peace Now claimed that "the responsibility for Price Tag actions is on [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's shoulders. The incitement of his coalition members in support of the illegal outposts and against the courts and left-wing movements trickles down and lends backing to the Price Tag terrorists."
Meretz chairman Ilan Gilon said yesterday that the "hooligans who perpetrated the Price Tag incidents receive encouragement from the Knesset and the prime minister, whose support of the new anti-democratic law [of investigating NGOs], puts himself again front and center, supporting the inciters."
MK Zahava Gal-On said, "Several months ago I warned the prime minister of the political violence he was encouraging. My letter wasn't answered, but the pogromists from the settlements were and still are encouraged." She claimed that the government's backing of such actions could lead to the next political murder in Israel.
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