The arson attack on the mosque in Yasuf, near Nablus, which by all indications was carried out by settler extremists from one of the neighboring Jewish settlements, should be an immediate wake-up call to law enforcement agencies in the territories. The words of condemnation and promises to catch those responsible that have been voiced from nearly every corner - including by the president, the prime minister and the defense minister - are not enough. Now is the time for action.
The burning of the mosque is a link in the chain, a long, dangerous and despicable chain, of actions the settlers themselves have deemed the "price tag." Just as it was during the dark periods in the history of the Jewish people, when the crowd took out its wrath at the authorities on the Jews, so now do the settlers take out their wrath at the construction freeze policy on their helpless Palestinian neighbors. Hundreds of olive trees have been uprooted and burned, while fields, cars and even homes have been set on fire - all the rotten fruit of recent weeks.
The police and the Israel Defense Forces faced the murky and threatening wave without taking any genuine action against it. Teams of investigators were dispatched to the scenes, statements taken, but very few arrests made. The IDF, too, whose job it is to protect the residents of the territories - Jews and Palestinians alike - did almost nothing. This seems to indicate that burned scriptures in Yasuf could be only the beginning, if the police and IDF do not respond immediately.
The list of likely suspects is short and well-known. The fact that as of press-time no arrests have been made is worrying. The more time that elapses before the perpetrators are arrested, the greater the danger that they will continue with their misdeeds and that the relative calm prevailing in the West Bank will come to an end with Palestinians carrying out acts of revenge. Then, of course, the security forces will take much stronger measures, such as curfews and arrests, and will find the perpetrators quickly and easily.
The law enforcement agencies must respond immediately, unequivocally and with a heavy hand, in order to stop those who threaten to ignite a great fire in the territories. Now is the time to charge for the "price tag" policy.
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