Daily Israel Report

Former ISA Official: 'Price Tag' Offenders Are Terrorists

Former Shin Bet official Menachem Landau: Israel must act more aggressively towards 'price tag' offenders.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/15/2011, 4:12 AM

'Price tag' (archives)
'Price tag' (archives)
Flash 90

Former senior Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) official Menachem Landau  told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday that Israel’s defense system must act more aggressively towards the so-called ‘price tag’ operations.

“These are terrorist acts and we should treat them accordingly,” Landau said. “When they enter a military base and clash with IDF officers, I do not understand how they were not arrested,” he added, referring to Monday night’s incident at the Ephraim base in Samaria.

Others have noted that surprising fact and wondered if it had to do with provocateurs being among the young rioters, or exaggerated number os rioters, since it is hard to imagine rioters escaping from an army base with so few apprehended.

“The IDF has to protect its bases and if it’s necessary to arrest them they should be arrested,” Landau said, not stopping there and adding: “If it’s necessary to hit them physically they should be hit.”

Landau said that solving the problem would also require tightening enforcement.

“This group already crossed the red lines long ago,” he said. “These are terrorist acts committed to intimidate the government, classic terrorism. The problem is that they are clever - they know the rules and when they are arrested they use their right to remain silent for a few days and then there is no choice but to release them. We need to change our perception. It’s hard to question them, they prepare themselves well.”

Netanyahu rejected, however, the recommendation that 'rioters' be classified as terrorists.

Landau cautioned against real bloodshed, saying that day is not far off.

“We do not want a confrontation like that, but these are people who have long ago rebelled against the kingdom. I’m afraid that bloodshed will happen. It’s enough that they will break into a military base and a soldier, fearing for his life, will start shooting and then we’ll ask ourselves where we were.

He then continued with a repetition of a false report that has been denied by the IDF. "We saw it when one of those outlaws attacked the deputy commander with a rock. He could have easily killed him. It was attempted murder.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted the recommendations of Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman for dealing with disturbances in Judea and Samaria. 

The recommendations include an immediate issuing of administrative detention orders against rioters; immediately increasing the number of those barred from various areas; trying rioters in military courts; giving IDF soldiers the authority to detain people; and increasing both the number of special ISA, Israel Police, IDF and State Attorney's Office investigation teams and the resources for investigations.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu vowed to stop violence directed at the IDF, telling reporters, “Those who raise a hand against IDF soldiers or Israel Police personnel will be punished severely. Those who rioted at the IDF Ephraim Brigade base are like those who riot in Bilin.”

"It is important to me to emphasize that this is a small group that does not represent the public that lives in Judea and Samaria, who are loyal to the state and its laws and who condemn the rioting," Netanyahu added.

The incident has been overwhelmingly condemned by community leaders and rabbis in Judea and Samaria who described the riot as "shameful and disgraceful."

Settlement leader Daniella Weiss and others have blamed Netanyahu for setting the atmposphere that brought on the attack at the Ephraim base and accused him of “lying and playing dirty” by allowing demolitions, a fact which the young people who worked for his election cannot accept.

Weiss told Israel National Radio talk show host Tamar Yonah Tuesday night that “Netanyahu, who now is so brave attacking the settlers…is the cause of everything that happened” at the Ephraim military base near Kedumim. The violence was “a result of the horrible partition of the Land of Israel. Netanyahu and [Defense Minister Ehud] are responsible for everything that is taking place."