Factbox: “Price Tag” attacks on Palestinian property blamed on Jewish settlers
A mosque in a Bedouin village in northern Israel was set on fire on Monday in an attack police suspect was carried out by Jewish extremists as part of so-called “Price Tag” campaign.
Following are facts about the campaign:
* “Price Tag” is a reference to retribution militant settlers have said they will exact for any Israeli government curbs on settlement in the occupied West Bank. The term has also come to describe attacks against Palestinian property in revenge for violence against settlers.
* Four mosques in the West Bank and one in the northern Israeli village of Tuba-Zangariya have been vandalised since the beginning of the year. Jewish settlers have also been accused of torching cars and fields and uprooting olive trees belonging to Palestinians.
* Attacks by settlers against Palestinian property in the West Bank has risen by 57 percent in the first seven months of 2011 compared with the same period last year, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which documents violence in the Palestinian territories.
* No charges have been brought against any suspects over “Price Tag” incidents.
* Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Beit, has said “Price Tag” attacks have “terrorist aspects”. The left-wing Haaretz newspaper said last month the Shin Beit believed “Price Tag” attacks were carried out by small close-knit and well-organised cells.
* Last month, an Israeli army base was targeted in a Price Tag attack for the first time after Israeli authorities demolished three structures in a West Bank settlement-outpost built without government permission. Graffiti was sprayed last month on the home of an Israeli woman working for Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement organisation.
* Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned such attacks, as have other ministers, lawmakers and rabbis who blame them on a small extremist minority. Palestinians and human rights groups say Israel does not do enough to find the attackers and bring them to justice.
* There are more than 100 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where half a million Jews live next to 2.5 million Palestinians. Palestinians say the settlements would deny them a viable state they hope to establish in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The World Court has ruled the settlements illegal. As part of its commitments to a U.S.-backed peace “road map” with the Palestinians, Israel has agreed to dismantle unauthorised settlement outposts where construction has not been sanctioned by Israeli authorities. Only one outpost out of 96 has been removed since 2005 but some structures have been torn down at several others.
by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem