“Anti-Price Tag Patrol” criticized by Israeli right; settlers demand stronger IDF response

In response to expected clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians over the UN vote on Palestinian statehood, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee and the Israel group Anarchists Against The Wall are launching their own patrol efforts around Palestinian villages. Meanwhile, in response to the deaths of two Israelis in a car crash whose cause is now attributed to Palestinian stone throwers, Israeli settlers are demanding that the IDF take action, or they will. The controversial Orthodox Chief Rabbi of the Kiryat Arva settlement, Dov Lior, has told Israeli news outlets that “We have murderous rioters surrounding us, according to the Torah, there is room for collective punishment and the IDF must carry out the punishment against the rioters. There are no innocents in a war.”

The anti-price tagging patrol, first reported by the Christian Science Monitor, outlines the actions of the Palestinian-Israeli groups, who are running car patrols around Palestinian villages and lands to keep an eye out for price-taggers, Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians and IDF property in retaliation for any removal of Israeli settlers from the West Bank. The CSM notes the recalcitrance of the Israeli settlers towards these actions, quoting the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Itmar as saying “This is our home, Israel. It’s in the Bible. It belongs to the Jewish nation.”

Israeli settlers are already coordinating their own patrols and protests through their community organizations, while the IDF, Israeli Border Police and Palestinian Authority are nominally working together to prevent outbreaks of violence. At least 5 Israeli settlements have also brought in members of the far-right French JDL to prevent “Arab infiltration.”

The CSM also quotes Palestinians involved in the anti-price tagging patrols as being unsupportive of the UN effort and willing to engage in a non-violent campaign to resolve the settlements’ question. This course of action has also been suggested by outside commentators, such as Carne Ross of Independent Diplomat.

The story about the Palestinian and Israeli anti-price tag patrols as reported by the pro-Israel, Jewish-American weekly The Algemeiner, though, focuses on charges of how these groups are delegitimizing Israel and enabling the deaths of settlers through their (in)action towards Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli motorists (two Israelis were reportedly killed in a car crash caused by Palestinian stone throwers on Friday):

Among the settlement leaders who have expressed their concerns is David Ha’ivri, the spokesman for the Samaria Liaison Office, the public relations branch of the Samaria Regional Council.

Ha’ivri alleged that the patrol initiative was “another effort by the extremist left wing and Anarchist activists in Israel to cause friction between Jewish and Arab residents.”

Commentary magazine, referring the stone throwers, asserts that “Arabs” are the main source of all West Bank violence and that the “rare” instances of Israeli retaliation are often done in self-defense.

Israeli settlers have reacted strongly to the deaths, which were originally reported as accidental by the Israeli authorities. A public funeral for the dead was disrupted by protests that forced the IDF to intervene. A settler leader told Ynet:

“The hurling of stones must be stopped. If the IDF can’t do it, then we’ll do it and we know how. We shall deploy our men along the line. Anyone with a licensed weapon will arrive and we’ll equip others with batons and protective gear.”

So far, according to Israeli media, protests and counterprotests in the West Bank have remained “relatively” calm, though deaths and injuries among both Israelis and Palestinians have been reported since Friday, when the PA formally presented its statehood bid at the UN in New York. Travel is now increasingly being restricted within the West Bank by the IDF.

About Paul Mutter

Paul Mutter is a contributor to Mondoweiss, Foreign Policy in Focus and the Arabist.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, One state/Two states, Settlers/Colonists, US Politics

{ 24 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RE: “Forward magazine…asserts that ‘Arabs’ are the main source of all West Bank violence” ~ Mutter

    MY QUESTION: Did you mean Commentary magazine? The link is to them rather than the Forward. There is a very big difference between the two. Frankly, Commentary reminds me of the Heaven’s Gate cult!

    Heaven’s Gate (religious group) – link to en.wikipedia.org

  2. James says:

    here is a link to go with the french jdl link you provide… this is much more informative… thanks for the article..

    link to english.aljazeera.net

  3. A group photo of armed French far right terrorist group JDL in the West Bank
    link to angryarabscommentsection.blogspot.com

  4. annie says:

    nah, i’m not buying the ‘both sides’ story. defner

    Israel’s number one journalist, Nahum Barnea of Yediot Aharonot, wrote the following today about the immediate prospects for violence in the West Bank as a result of the UN showdown::

    “Surprising as it sounds, the IDF and Israel Police both figure that the greatest danger at the moment is not from the Palestinian side, but from the Jewish side. ‘Price tag’ operations by settler extremists are spreading. Eight mosques have been attacked in the last two weeks with no arrests of any culprits being made. The Shin Bet stands helpless in the face of these events. While the Palestinian leadership is calling for restraint, Jewish extremists are fanning the flames, which are liable to sweep thousands of Arabs up on both sides of the Green Line.

    “This is the danger – and the failure. It is keeping senior security officials awake at night.”

    and then last week i entered a draft, not sure why it didn’t cut the mustard but here’s Haaretz reporting “Extreme right-wing Jewish activists” are organizing into terror groups. some fanatics threatened a Peace Now activist with murder. According to the Shin Bet “extreme Jewish activists” have expanded there terrorizing activities from Palestinians in the West Bank to targeting Jews, specifically “left-wing Israeli activists” Shin Bet’s new analysis claims the Jewish extremists have a database of potential targets and are organizing. “Sources in the Shin Bet noted that the planned attacks against Arabs and left-wing Israelis constitute terrorist activity, for all intents and purposes. “

    plus another report in the hebrew press about ‘waves’ of attacks on palestinians in east jerusalem.

    this is incitement. and i just linked to a video in another thread here it is again about a kid getting attacked by settlers in the same town near nablus settlers shot man for no reason on friday.

    • DBG says:

      no reason Annie? really? how about the father and son who were killed by the stone throwers? I bet you don’t believe that either? Mossad false flag incident?

      • annie says:

        how about the father and son who were killed by the stone throwers?

        according to the terrorist settlers, bla. the government didn’t allege or report they were killed by stone throwers. you know that. i noticed you had nothing to say about the shin bet report:

        Extreme right-wing Jewish activists in the West Bank have moved from spontaneous acts against Arabs – following the demolition of Jewish homes by Israeli authorities, or terror attacks against Jews – to organized planning that includes use of a database of potential targets, according to new analysis by the Shin Bet security service.

        The small groups of Jewish extremists are difficult to infiltrate and carry out surveillance on Arab villages and collect information about access points and escape routes in the villages.

        go bark up someone else’s tree.

        • DBG says:

          you mean the terrorist settler police? I suppose you think the child was a valid target though huh?

          link to jta.org

        • annie says:

          that is a really irresponsible headline by jta. especially when their own reporting said may have occurred after a rock was thrown at the car. i have no reason to believe anything settler police say. nothing.

          take the last word

        • Chaos4700 says:

          You think that children are valid targets, DBG. Furkan Dogan was under the age of 21, and Operation Cast Lead specifically dropped bombs on schools and hospitals, killing HUNDREDS of children.

          So why don’t you answer for your own endorsement of child murder before you throw around your own accusations, DBG? What makes it justified when you murder children?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Because it couldn’t have POSSIBLY been, you know, drunk driving.

      • piotr says:

        The incident of father and son who crashed after the car was hit by stones happened shortly after a Palestinian was shot dead while a group of Palestinians was defending their village from a mob of settlers who were breaking windows.

        The guy was shot for a reason: IDF unit was defending attacking settlers. Not a reason that could cheer up Palestinians. Mind you, although settlers most regularly inflict property damage by setting fires, cutting trees etc. they also throw stones.

  5. Doz says:

    Can someone explain how progroms became “price tag operations”?


    • Chaos4700 says:

      Short answer? PR firms.

    • annie says:

      Can someone explain how progroms became “price tag operations”?

      yes, the first i heard of the price tag attacks was directly after netanyahu announced they would be conducting a settlement freeze.

      US tax dollars fund rabbi who sanctioned killing gentile babies and incited torching of Yasuf mosque
      December 15, 2009

      Rabbi Elitzur

      UPDATE: Yaniv Reich provides a handbook for journalists and activists interested in exploring this issue further.

      Friday’s (December 11 2009) torching of a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf, did not take place in a vacuum. The “price tag” terror tactic has been public knowledge for more than two years. Rabbis publicly sanction and encourage these attacks.

      The Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar is a notable example. Its head, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, is the author of Baruch Hagever, an ode to Cave of Patriarchs murderer Baruch Goldstein. In early November the yeshiva’s dean, Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, published the “Handbook for the Killing of Gentiles.” On December 4 he published an article with specific instructions for terror activities in response to the “settlement freeze.”

      here’s more

      Maariv editor: Settler terrorists and their rabbis are Neonazis
      December 15, 2009 Didi Remez 4 comments

      The past two days have witnessed some Israeli reaction to settler fundamentalism. On Sunday (December 13 2009) evening, Defense Minister Ehud Barak finally stood up to a mutiny-inciting IDF-affiliated rabbi. This morning (December 15 2009) Haaretz published a scathing exposé of how Israeli and US taxes fund Yitzhar’s Od Yosef Hai yeshiva, publisher of Baruch Hagever, an ode to Cave of Patriarchs murderer Baruch Goldstein, and, more recently, the “Handbook for the Killing of Gentiles.”

      Most startling, however, is an op-ed by Ben Dror Yemini, a senior editor at Maariv, known as a leading crusader against anti-Israeli propaganda and ‘Islamofascism.’ Enraged at the damage done to his efforts by Friday’s (December 11 2009) torching of a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf, he penned a full frontal assault on the attackers, the rabbis sanctioning them and the government’s of Israel lack of action on the issue (full text after the jump.)

      and more

      Just last week, ahead of a revival meeting with the notorious Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg (author of Baruch Hagever, an ode to Cave of Patriarchs murderer Baruch Goldstein) he published an article with specific instructions on this type of action in response to the “settlement freeze.”

      This morning’s (December 13 2009) Yediot made the connection. In a news item entitled “The people who want to set things ablaze,” Zvi Singer et al report that

      A number of the settler rabbis voiced their support for that mode of action and, by so doing, increased awareness about the issue and created a type of internal buzz among the activists. For example, Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar published an article in the extremist right wing newsletter called Hakol Heyhudi [The Jewish Voice] in which he explicitly called for operations like the arson at the Yasouf mosque. “Operations of reciprocal responsibility,” is how Rabbi Elitzur chose to define them. “We too have strength and we too shall use it at a time and place of our choosing,” he wrote. “If the Jews don’t have quiet—the Arabs won’t have quiet either; If the Arabs win because of violence against Jews—the Jews too will win because of violence against Arabs.”

      This Friday’s (December 11 2009) edition of the Jewish Voice, entitled “Fighting the Freeze,” reiterates the importance of such attacks (full Hebrew document here)

      Another important “tip” in this context: Whoever wants to win does not limit himself to protest, nor does he let the other side determine the boundaries of the battle. We need to choose for ourselves the sector of the struggle. Why, for example, wait in the settlements for the violent-frost-forces [sic], and not send a small delegation of our own to the nearby Arab village, to check out the freeze situation there? Believe me that all the [IDF] forces will immediately retreat to the Arab village…

      Yediot fails to mention that the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva is the recipient of generous government funding, perhaps because Haaretz was the one to expose this fact. According to Israel’s premier expert on NGO funding, Prof. Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, however, this is just a fact of life in Israel, as normal as funding of youth movements, and does not warrant any extraordinary action. Responding to a direct question on Od Yosef Hai, he tells the Jerusalem Post’s Shmuel Rosner that…

      lots more here: link to coteret.com

  6. I suppose everyone familiar with this conflict gets used to callous cross-eyed stupidity but when a Rabbi says:

    “There are no innocents in a war.”

    That seems straight out of the sayings of Adolf Hitler.

  7. Real Jew says:

    “There are no innocents in a war. That seems straight out of the sayings of Adolf Hitler”

    Coming from a Palestinian this statement would be considered nazism or terrorism. But from a settler or rabbi…..freedom fighter.

    • annie says:

      actually, according to that link up there Maariv editor: Settler terrorists and their rabbis are Neonazis. of course calling someone a neonazi is not quite the same as calling them hitler. also, note my first haaretz link up thread:

      Sources in the Shin Bet noted that the planned attacks against Arabs and left-wing Israelis constitute terrorist activity, for all intents and purposes.

      and the article is titled “Shin Bet: Israel’s extreme rightists organizing into terror groups“.

      they just don’t come right out and call them terrorists.