IDF Outlaws 'Price Tag' Rings in West Bank

The move, sanctioned by GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, comes after the cabinet declared 'price tag' attacks illegal in Israel proper.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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The cabinet declared Sunday that groups carrying out ‘price tag’ attacks - acts of violence against Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, left-wingers and churches perpetrated by right-wing militants - are illegal organizations in the West Bank.

Also, the Military Advocate General’s Office announced on Sunday that “a group of people, whether it is organized or not, including any group, cell, social cooperative or association, which calls itself ‘price tag’ is a forbidden association.” The declaration was signed last week by Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, head of the IDF’s Central Command. Alon’s move came in response to “price tag” assaults. The term was coined by settler radicals who warned that acts against their interests would carry a “price tag,” and is the assailants’ signature graffito at the sites of attacks.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed the declaration outlawing such groups within Israel at the start of this month.

The wording of the cabinet edict says that anyone who participates in “price tag” activities, or uses the name or another name with similar meaning, and “acts to advance a violent struggle or carries out violent activities against people or their property, whether within the area of Judea and Samaria or whether outside it, is an illegal organization” under the Defense Emergency Regulations.

Price tag now joins a list of 87 organizations outlawed in the West Bank. Out of this list, price tag is only the second that is not a Palestinian or Islamic group. In 1997, the Kach/Kahane Chai movement was declared illegal in the West Bank.

Upon publishing Ya’alon’s decision a few weeks ago, the Defense Ministry said it will allow law enforcement agencies to hold suspects for longer, prevent them from meeting their lawyers during questioning, hold them until the end of proceedings and confiscate property. The courts will also be granted broader powers in such cases and can issue more severe punishments.

The ministry said these steps would be used not only against the perpetrators themselves, but also against their ideological backers, those who promulgate the ideology and those who finance it.

At the time Ya’alon said “it is our obligation to be stricter against these rioters, since the results of these actions is disastrous.” He said they were criminals in every way and should be fought with the toughest means possible.

Screenshot of an image run by the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency, showing price tag graffiti on a Tekoa mosque.Credit: Screenshot