U.S. Report: 'Price Tag' Attacks Spread Into Israel, Go Unpunished

The annual State Department's terror report says there were 399 attacks in 2013 by Israeli settler extremists that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.

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A Catholic monk standing in a doorway of the Latrun Trappist Monastery where vandals spray-painted with anti-Christian and pro-settler graffiti, Sept. 4, 2012.Credit: AP

Crimes by Israeli extremists against Palestinians spread into Israel and went largely unpunished last year, according to the U.S. State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2013, released on Wednesday.

Within the chapter on Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem is a sub-section dedicated to "price tag" attacks, defined as "property crimes and violent acts by extremist Jewish individuals and groups in retaliation for activity they deemed to be anti-settlement." According to the report, citing the United Nations and NGO sources, such acts were "largely unprosecuted."

There were 399 attacks by Israeli settler extremists that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage, including five vandalized mosques and there churches in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The report makes note of the new unit in the Israel Police formed in 2013 dedicated to investigating hate crimes in both Israel and the West Bank and specifies the Security Cabinet decision last June to classify perpetrators of such attack as "illegal associations."

The report was released at a time of increasing attacks of this kind, specifically within the Green Line. On Wednesday, a car belonging to a Nazareth resident was vandalized in an apparent hate crime carried out by Israeli extremists, the second in the last 24 hours.

Overnight Monday, vandals sprayed graffiti of a Star of David and the phrase "close mosques, not yeshivas" on a mosque in the northern Israeli Arab town of Fureidis. Tires of several cars parked in the area were also found slashed. Two weeks ago, graffiti was sprayed on a mosque in Umm al-Fahm and vandals tried to torch the entrance to the mosque.

The extensive report also notes that the terrorist incidents against Israel in 2013 continued in a variety of forms, primary among them, rocket and mortar fire from Gaza. However it notes that the rate of fire on Israel has significantly reduced from previous years.

The report also specified that in April 2013, for the first time in 18 months, an Israeli was killed by a Palestinian in the West Bank, referring to the stabbing of Evyatar Borovsky.