Op-Ed: In "Defense" of "Price Tag" Actions
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He has just prblished a book about the Vatican and Israel titled "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.
The Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria are not even qualified by the adjective “Jewish”, while the Palestinian Arabs are described as the only “local residents”.
Why have the Arab “price tag” attacks on Jews been widely ignored by the Israeli media and government leaders, after graffiti in the Arab Israeli town of Abu Ghosh earned moral and political condemnation from a variety of mainstream figures, including President Shimon Peres?
All the mainstream Israeli media dropped a curtain of silence over the last attacks on the Jewish “settlers”; the New York Times and Haaretz are mute, Amnesty International isn’t interested, the Israeli “human rights” organizations are indifferent, the whole Israeli “peace camp” glows with satisfaction and even many politicians in the so-called “national camp” have turned a cold shoulder.
Let’s be honest and go straight to the point: those who obsessively focus on “price tag” would like to see the Jews of Judea and Samaria lie down and die. For them, the Jews, especially in Judea and Samaria, are the ones who should be victims. The doors of the ghetto have been drawn in Tel Aviv.
If you live in the hundreds of outposts throughout in the Biblical heartland, where the fear of being killed is palpable and the psychological impact on children and adults alike is immense, is it so unthinkable and unreasonable to show the Arabs some physical, non-injurious deterrence against terrorism?
In the Middle East, if you show weakness you will be treated as weak and will be taken advantage of at every opportunity. If you behave with strength and decisiveness, you will survive. True, the IDF should be the only one justified to use force to protect Israel's citizens, but what happens when you see the army retreating from protecting you and the Arabs reach the gates of your besieged community?
The IDF in Judea and Samaria is not allowed to quell the riots and the attacks on the Jews effectively, for fear that more Palestinian Arab casualties might imperil the “process”. Alas, the IDF’s poor showing in the streets only whets the Muslims’ appetite.
"Price tag" attacks are vandalism and hooliganism, and should be treated as such. But exaggerating them, calling these “terrorism” and “Jewish underground” (how many Arabs have died in these "price tag" attacks? How many attempts on Arab lives have there been in "price tag" activities? The answer is none), is meant to portray Judea and Samaria not as areas where Jewish civilians are ambushed by Muslim terrorists, but as a playground for Jewish vigilantes.
It will then be easier to withdraw from these areas. Vandals become “Jewish terrorists”. And the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria are not even qualified by the adjective “Jewish”, while the Palestinian Arabs are described as the only “local residents”.
I stand ashamed when Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s leading newspaper, publishes a whole page comparing suicide attacks on Israeli buses to Jewish graffiti on an Arab mosque. I stand ashamed when MK's attempt to introduce a law defining this vandalism as "terror" with the accompanying punishment. It means that for the Israeli mainstream, Jewish life is cheap.
More surrender and planned deportation will follow the "price tag" hysteria. Meanwhile, nights are longer and darker in Judea and Samaria hilltops.