Israeli police yesterday rejected the US State Department’s annual global terrorism report which named Jewish extremists’ attacks against Palestinians as terrorist acts saying such incidents cannot be compared with Palestinian militants’ attacks.
In an unprecedented move the US State Department refers, in its 2013 terrorism report published on Wednesday, to the growing wave of racist vandalism attacks against Palestinians by the Price Tag group.
The report said: “Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property and places of worship in the West Bank continued and were largely unprosecuted.”
Israel’s police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the attacks were far from the global terror threats highlighted in the report.
Rosenfeld said: “There is no comparison whatsoever between criminal incidents motivated by nationalism and terrorism-related incidents.”
The report, which was based on UN and non-governmental organisations’ figures, noted that “the UN Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs reported 399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.”
It said: “Violent extremists, including Israeli settlers, vandalised five mosques and three churches in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
The report identifies Price Tag attacks as “property crimes and violent acts by extremist Jewish individuals and groups in retaliation for activity they deemed to be anti-settlement” and highlights that over the past year the phenomenon has spread from the West Bank into Israel.
The report acknowledged that Israeli police formed special units to pursue such cases and that the government described the groups responsible for the attacks as “illegal” giving authorities broader powers to act against it.