Price tag vandalism (illustration)
Price tag vandalism (illustration) Flash 90

A senior official in the Israeli police has admitted that most of the ‘price tag’ attacks are not being carried out by Jewish youth from Judea and Samaria, despite them usually being blamed for such attacks.

Speaking to the Walla! news website on Sunday, Judea and Samaria District Police chief Major General Amos Yaakov admitted that "most of the people who carry out these offenses are people who come from outside of Judea and Samaria. This needs to be emphasized. Most of them come from central Israel, from Beit Shemesh or from Tzfat. In one case of a vandalized mosque the main suspect is from Netanya.”

He added, “We know, in at least four cases of arson of mosques, who are the perpetrators. We even matched DNA that was found on a box of matches at one of the mosques that was set on fire - but apparently it was not enough to indict the suspects.”

Yaakov said that “there is pretty solid evidence in one case where a person was caught, arrested and interrogated - but it was not enough. At the interrogations, you should see how they behave. It's crazy. These guys come well-prepared, with explanations and instructions on how not to talk during an interrogation. Children aged 14, 15 and even 12 sit during an interrogation and don’t speak one word for days. In such cases, nothing can be done against the right to remain silent.”

During the interview, Yaakov was asked about the case in which five Jews from Judea and Samaria were accused by police of espionage, simply because they warned other Jews of impending demolitions of homes. The government later withdrew charges that the five detainees were spies.

Asked whether the police overstepped their boundaries with the espionage charges, Yaakov said, “If people collect information about military movements, conduct observations, have maps and lists with the names of all the senior officers in the area and where they live – what is the purpose of all this, to create a game? I see this incident as more than serious. Disrupting IDF operations is not a terrorist act? This is very serious. We tried to go for the most severe offense, but there was hesitation.”

After the police dropped the espionage charges against the five, it was speculated that a relatively large protest outside a police detention facility at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem may have influenced the decision to omit the charges from the indictments.

In the interview Yaakov also attacked the leftist activists who, as he put it, fan the flames in Judea and Samaria.

“Some of the conflicts are caused only by leftists and anarchists, without whom the Palestinians would never leave their homes,” he said. “They force them to leave. There are regular provocateurs here but we are having trouble getting our hands on them because they are always walking the thin line between breaking the law and obeying it.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Join our official WhatsApp group