Israel's Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon denounced on Wednesday the "price tag" attacks committed by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, describing them as terrorist acts. Israel's Yedioth Aharonoth newspaper quoted Ya'alon on Wednesday saying that: "The unacceptable trend known as 'price tag' is in my opinion terrorism in every sense of the word."
Ya'alon also claimed that: "We are working, and will work against the perpetrators with zero tolerance and with a determined, firm hand to defeat this."
Israeli settlers usually paint the phrase "price tag" on Palestinian properties to express their hostility towards the Palestinians and/or their anger at the Israeli government for not adopting more extremist policies. According to Palestinian officials and residents, attacks of this kind include sabotaging Palestinian properties, mosques and churches, as well as uprooting and burning olive trees.
In the past, Israel's President Shimon Peres has also condemned the attacks, saying that they open the door to the outbreak of major violence in the region from both sides
However the UN's fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements in 2013 highlighted the failure of the Israeli authorities to enforce the law by investigating such incidents and prosecuting the guilty parties, who aim to "drive the local populations away from their lands and allow the settlements to expand". The UN mission found that: "the identities of settlers who are responsible for violence and intimidation are known to the Israeli authorities, yet these acts continue with impunity."
The latest price tag attack took place on Wednesday at dawn when a group of settlers set ablaze cars owned by Palestinians in the northern West Bank village of Madama, near the city of Nablus.