Price Tag Violence

Articles on violence by Israelis against non-Jews and peace activists in Israel and the Territories.

Israelis Counter Price Tags With Trees, Arrests

Although there were few political leaders taking the podium over the recent rise in Price Tag attacks, there have been quiet efforts of opposition and healing in their wake.

Over the weekend, police arrested an IDF soldier and two young women caught on video tape carrying out a price tag attack on a home in Luban al-sharqiya near Nablus 1:30am Tuesday night. a week ago (February 4). One of the suspected women, Orien Nizri, comes from Migron ( a settlement that Israel is planning to dismantle) and is doing her national service at museum in Jersulem.

Earlier last week, on T’uv B’shevat Palestinian and Jewish school children planted trees together in honor of T’uv Shevat. The Jewish children came from Efrat. The Palestinian children from the neighboring villiage of Jurat al-Shama. The trees will form a small grove that will eventually replace a wall that had been built to stop the spread of noxious dust from a near by factory in Jurat al-Shama. In addition to the tree planing Efrat is considering sending some of its security personnel to guard the plant at night.

Also on T’uv B’shevat, a group of Israelis organized by Rabbi for Human Rights went to Al Jenia to plant trees with the residents there. According to Rabbi Barry Leff, chairman of the board for Rabbi for Human Rights , the goal of the visit was “to present a different Jewish face than the one of the extremists who made a ‘price tag’ attack in the village last week.” Good intentions aside, the IDF was not terribly happy about a field of trees being planted on the outskirts of the village and tried to stop the tree planters. Arab villagers say that the land is theirs. The IDF soldiers claimed that the land was IDF territory.

The Abraham Fund, a non-profit that provides funding to a wide variety of co-existance projects, denounced the first price-tag attack against the Hand to Hand school and called on the Israeli Ministry of Education to step up the funding and creation of programs that foster respect and co-existance.

In addition to the immediate responses above, there are also several more long term efforts to create understanding between the peaceful portions of both Israeli and Palestinian society. The Hand to Hand school that was attacked for the second time in less that a week is one example.

For at least 15 years, across the street from the Israel Museum, the Bible Land Museum runs a program where both Jewish and Palestinian children explore their common heritage in the ancient world. The program involves not just the children, but also their parents and teachers. Each year 250 or more fourth and fifth graders participate in the program along with their parents and teachers. Overall, more than 15,000 people have been involved in the program over the years. The message of the program sticks. This year some of the staff applicants were children who had been in the program years before.

The Parent’s Circle Family Forum began in 1995 when several Israeli families who had lost loved ones sought to meet with Arab families who had also lost family members. It has grown into an association of more than 600 Arab nd Jewish families who have lost family members in terrorist attacks and other conflicts between Arabs and Jews. They meet to provide mutual support. They also use their experience working through grief and loss together to run “dialog meetings” that help Arab and Jewish students on university campuses see the humanity of each other and consider the possibility of dialog rather than violence as a way of addressing grievences between Arabs and Jews. Although they believe that interpersonal dialog is a pre-cursor to peace, they refrain from political statements and believe that the specifics of national peace must be worked out by the leaders of each national group.

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Price Tag Attack at Hand to Hand School (Again)

Hand to Hand School Playground - Jerusalem

Since our last report on price tag actions, there have been two more attacks both targetted at institutions known for working towards mutual understanding between Jews and Arabs. On Thursday, Peace Now was attacked. Over the weekend, vandals spray painted slogans for a second time at the Hand to Hand school.

On Thursday (February 9), vandals spray-painted a wall outside the offices of Peace Now (שלום עכשיו ) with “No leftists, no terror attacks”. The attack on Peace Now was the ffith within the last 12 months. Staff membe apartments have been sprayed twice with graffiti. This is the third time the peace now offices have been spray painted. There was also a bomb threat in November.

Then over this weekend the Hand to Hand school was attacked for a second time. The Hand in Hand school is run by the Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. It provides K-12 education to a religiously and ethnically diverse student body that includes Arab and Armenian Christians, secular and traditional Jews, as well as Muslim students. Its curriculum integrates peace education with regular academic studies.

Vandals spraypainted “Death to Arabs” and “Kahane was right” on the play ground. Meir Kahane was a leader of the Israeli Far Right in the 1980s. He advocated the forced deportment of all non-Jews. He was banned from running for the Knesset in 1988 because of his racist and undemocratic attitudes.

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Yachimovitch Condemns Monastery Attack. Do We?

On Tuesday morning , children arrived at the Max Rayne Hand to Hand school in Jerusalem to find graffitti painted on the outer wall of their school building: “Death to Arabs!” and “Kahane was right!”,. The Hand to Hand school is run by the Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. It provides K-12 education to a religiously and ethnically diverse student body that includes Arab and Armenian Christians, secular and traditional Jews, as well as Muslim students. Its curriculum integrates peace education with regular academic studies.

That same morning at a Greek Orthodox Monastery in Emek haMatzleva (valley of the cross), near the Israel Museum, someone had painted “Death to Christains!”, “Jesus drop Dead!”, “Kehane was right”, “Price Tag” and “The Macabees of Migron” on two cars and a stone fence outside the monastery The car tires were also slashed. The Jerusalem Municipality removed the graffiti by 9AM.

Those working at the monaster were upset, but determined to stay true to their religious convictions. One of the priests at the monastery, Father Claudio, told reporters “I am a priest. I will forgive.”

Police are investigating both attacks. They suspect that both attacks were the work of settlers but they don’t know if they are connected to each other. Evidence pointing to settler involvement include the slogan “Price Tag” and the allusion to Migron painted on the monastery walls. The Israeli government is forcing the evacuation and demolition of the Migron settlement against the will of its residents.

These two attacks come on the heels of a wave of suspected settler attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem and on the West Bank.

  • Saturday night or early Sunday morning (February 5) vandals vandals slashed the tires of a taxi and painted “Death to Arabs!”, “revenge”, and “closed military zone” on a taxi and the steps of a house in Al-Janiya near Ramalla. (Sources: Reuters, Jerusalem Post)
  • The previous Thursday, February 2, settlers in K’far Etzion slashed tires of Arab cars and threw stones at passing cars in retalization for earlier stone throwing by their Arab neighbors. (Source: Kol haYehudi)
  • Also on Thursday, February 2, the tires were slashed on Seven Arab cars in Jerusalem in relation for property damage in the settlement of Mitzpeh AviChai. (Source: Kol haYehudi)
  • Wednesday, February 1, in Tzir Gilead in the West Bank, a 60 year old Palestinian woman was hit in the head when settlers threw stones at passing cars. Many of the cars were also damaged. The stone throwing was in retaliation for two Israelis who were lighly hurt by Arab stone throwing. (Source: Kol haYehudi)

Some of these incidents, like the K’far Etzion attack are part of an on-going feud with a neighboring Arab village. One could argue that both sides are acting abominably and giving as good as they get.

However, it is hard to make that case for the attacks on the school and monastery in Jerusalem. Continue reading

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