A senior officer in the Israeli police force has admitted that he and his colleagues are unable to prevent the attacks carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in what are known as “price tag” operations. The officer ruled out any improvement in this respect over the coming months. He pointed out that the police service is waiting for the Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, to declare “Price Tag” to be an illegal organisation.
According to a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, police officials say that their inability to tackle the phenomenon lies in the lack of an effective deterrent for the young, extreme right-wing Jewish settlers. There is, they say, a generation of young settlers ready to imitate their predecessors who started the Price Tag movement in illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank.
The newspaper claimed that there is also a problem in the way that the Israeli intelligence services deals with the group, which revolves around a lack of intelligence agents young enough to infiltrate Price Tag. In any case, Haaretz points out, most of the young Jews involved study at the same religious school, which makes it unlikely that any one would cooperate with the authorities against his colleagues.
The Israeli government has ignored the recommendations of various bodies which called for the government to designate Price Tag as a terrorist group and thus illegal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected these demands earlier this week, arguing that this could increase the number and ferocity of the settlers’ attacks.