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Golani Soldier Nabbed over Alleged 'Price Tag' Attack

Petah Tikva court extends soldier's detention by one day; accused of writing anti-Arab graffiti on Afikim buses. Suspect denies the charges.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 11/20/2013, 6:06 PM

Price Tag graffiti
Price Tag graffiti
Flash 90

Petach Tivka magistrate courts have extended the detention of a Golani IDF soldier for another day Wednesday, after he was accused of spraying "price tag" graffiti on Afikim buses. 

The accused allegedly sprayed graffiti on the backs and sides of the busses, in protest of the transportation company's decision to hire more Palestinian Arab drivers. The decision comes amid a heated debate about a crisis on the Judea-Samaria bus system, whereby passengers on Afikim lines have been continually harassed by PA passengers, as well as an ongoing national debate about the dangers of illegal Palestinian Arab workers.

The soldier's brother was also arrested. 

"Price Tagging" refers to an apparently uncoordinated series of attacks aimed at making Arab communities "pay the price" for terrorism. 

While most "price tag" incidents have ended with graffiti or some property damage, some have included potentially deadly arson.

On some occasions, attacks have also target Israeli security forces in revenge for the destruction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Police have repeatedly arrested suspects, primarily religious-Zionist Jewish men, but most suspects have been released without charges after no evidence was found to link them to the attacks.

In at least one case, an incident of "price tag" arson was revealed to have been the work of local Arabs. The attackers deliberately blamed Jews for their activities, using "price tag" as a cover for their crime.

Attorney Adi Keidar, from the Honenu (lit. "pardoned") legal aid organization, filed a petition against the court's decision at the central offices in Lod shortly after the news was announced. 

Both accused have repeatedly denied the charges. The Golani soldier in question is among the top in his unit and has no previous criminal record. 

Keidar's petition cites a lack of evidence in the case, and claims that the accusations against both parties are false.

"The allegations are based on intelligence received only yesterday, and the information does not link this soldier to the attacks in any way whatsoever," the appeal reads. "[The soldier] has provided a detail and solid alibi proving that he did not carry out the alleged attacks." 

While most "price tag" incidents have ended with graffiti or some property damage, some have included potentially deadly arson.