Israeli Ministers to Decide Whether 'Price Tag’ Attacks Are Terrorism

New legislation would target Jews who commit acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and peace activists.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is expected to decide Sunday whether to support a bill defining “price tag” acts as terrorism.

The term “price tag” has been coined by Jewish extremists to describe their acts of vandalism and violence that usually target Palestinians and Israeli peace activists. Defining such attacks as terror would let the authorities take firmer action to stop them and hand out harsher punishments.

The bill’s sponsor, MK Eitan Cabel (Labor), said he intends to submit another bill soon making perpetrators of such acts liable to up to 20 years in prison.

“We cannot accept people who commit acts in the name of Judaism that could cause an escalation in the entire region and cast a stain on Israel’s image in the eyes of the world,” Cabel said. “These people’s acts are neither Jewish nor Zionist, and we must denounce them.”

The legislation represents amendments to the penal code. A first amendment defines a terror act as an offense or a threat to carry out an offense designed to influence a political, diplomatic, ideological or religious issue, or a racially motivated offense committed with this intention.

A second amendment stipulates that the penalty for using violence or incitement to achieve political or nationalist goals is a prison sentence of up to 20 years in extreme cases.

Cabel said the cabinet’s proposal defines terrorism in a neutral way without referring to the Jewish extremists’ themselves.

“The authorities show incompetence and weakness when facing Jewish terrorism and accept it with a kind of passivity. This is an absurd situation in which a bunch of criminals put themselves above the law while the state and security forces’ hands are tied and can’t mete out the appropriate deterrent punishment,” he said.

“We must not accept such acts when they’re committed against Jews or Arabs. This is not a matter of right or left, it’s a matter of values and morality. The Jewish people, who suffered over the years from racially motivated pogroms and violence, should be the first to handle – and with an iron fist – Jews who attack others out of nationalist motives.”

Palestinian car vandalized in an alleged 'price tag' attack, West Bank, Jan. 8, 2014.Credit: AP