The US has no business criticizing Israel for failing to rein in so-called “price tag” attacks, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said Thursday. The criteria set in the State Department report were unrealistic and unfair, and the report ignores Israel's attempts to deal with the problem. “They are in no position to grade us on our actions,” Erdan told Channel Ten in an interview.
The State Department's 2013 anti-terrorism report investigated terror activity across the globe in 2013, and was published on its website. The "Israel, West Bank, and Gaza" section, however, focuses intensely on "extremist Israeli settlers" and subtly calls for them to be prosecuted by the UN. "Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property, and places of worship in the West Bank continued and were largely unprosecuted [sic] according to UN and NGO sources," the report claims, citing the leftist UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs.
The report also cited "399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage" and deemed them "violent extremists" - mostly over "price tag" attacks against Palestinian Arab homes and property.
"Price tag" is a euphemism for politically-motivated vandalism and criminal damage usually attributed to Jewish extremists, carried out either in revenge for Arab terrorist attacks, or in protest of Israeli government policies such as the destruction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
In the interview, Erdan said that the State Department was unfairly equating Israel with true terror regimes. “These price tags attacks are not against lives, but against property. It's graffiti, not murder. I do not accept the position that attacks on property are the same as attacks against people. It's true that these kind of attacks could get out of hand and lead to murder, but this has not happened yet,” Erdan said.
“We in the government strongly condemn these kinds of attacks and we have been taking action against them,” Erdan said. “We are very concerned. These are immoral acts and crimes that damage Israel.