‘Price tag’ attacks: It’s not about the graffiti


JEWISH TERRORISM
In an attempt to downplay the severity of nationalist crimes by Israeli citizens, the media refers to the offenses as ‘graffiti.’ Here are the facts – and it’s not just graffiti.

June 14, 2014 +972
Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din

In recent weeks the “Hilltop Youth,” Israeli citizens in general, and their lobby in the Knesset and the media have been experiencing a sense of crisis. The events surrounding Yitzhar and the comments by a resident of the settlement justifying attacks on soldiers have put them on the defensive. In their responses in online comments and in sympathetic articles, they have presented the argument that “Price Tag” violence is about nothing more than some scribbled graffiti.

Gentiles in the land are enemies
“Gentiles in the land are enemies,” on a Palestinian bus in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina, on March 24. 2013. © Activestills.org

This claim is a propaganda lie for several reasons. Firstly, the media classifies nationalist violence by Israeli citizens – settlers and others – under the catch-all term “price tag.” In reality, price tag attacks account for just a small proportion of the overall phenomenon of attacks on Palestinians by Israeli civilians. “Price tag” or “mutual liability” are code words for such acts of violence directed against the IDF, the police, or – above all – against Palestinians – in response to actions by the Israeli security forces, such as the eviction of an outpost. These actions have quite a colorful style, and it is true that in many cases, the perpetrators leave behind their hallmark graffiti. [See Jewish terrorism attacks against Christian churches and Muslim mosques]

Jesus son of whore - we will crucify you

firebombed mosque
Firebombed mosque, Jan. 2014

However, ideological crime by Israeli civilians against Palestinians does not end with price tag attacks. Such crime occurs on an almost-daily basis. In order to illustrate this point, I asked Noah Cohen, Yesh Din’s information coordinator, to collate details of attacks on Palestinians which we have documented over the past year – from May 2013 through the end of April 2014. I will provide brief details below about these incidents.

Before beginning the catalog of events, however, two important comments. Firstly, Yesh Din is essentially a legal organization. We collect testimonies as a foundation for legal action. In some cases, Palestinians refuse to submit a complaint to the police, usually due to their lack of trust in the institution. In such cases, there was no legal response to the incident. In other cases, legal action was transferred to another attorney or organization; the result is that we have no information regarding the police processing of those files. Such cases are classified as “not processed by Yesh Din.”

Secondly, the 132 incidents detailed in this post are only those that came to Yesh Din’s attention. The list certainly does not include all the relevant incidents. Neither does it include minor incidents (such as cursing) or non-violent attacks (such as “merely” invading Palestinian land or dumping garbage [or sewage- ed] in it). Nobody has any idea how many incidents involving attacks on Palestinians occurred in the relevant period. We attempted to obtain this information from the Israel Police, but were informed that no comprehensive figures exist on this subject. Accordingly, we must assume that the actual number of incidents is higher – though we cannot determine how much higher. If an incident was already featured in the blog, I provide a link to the relevant post.

So what can we learn from this list? We have 132 incidents of ideological crime committed by Israeli civilians against Palestinians over the period of May 2013 through April 2014. Only in 13 cases did the perpetrators write slogans in the area – less than 10 percent of the incidents. Moreover, in nine of these 13 cases, the slogans appeared alongside the torching of vehicles or buildings. In another case, the slogans appeared on a home in the village of Sinjil, which had been set on fire two months earlier.

Sinjil
Jewish terrorists set this house on fire in Sinjil, while the family was inside. © Activestills.org

So when discussing ideological crime by Israelis, we should recall the following facts:

  1. In the vast majority of cases, the incident is far more serious than graffiti and involves damage to property or physical assault.
  2. In cases that do involve graffiti, this often accompanies an act of arson, and in many instances the target of the torching is an inhabited home. Such attacks fall very close to the definition of terrorism, if not within it.
  3. In most incidents of torching – of which we have documented 28, including the torching of a chicken coop in which thousands of chicks were burned alive – as well as attempted arson, no graffiti was left alongside the torched building.
  4. The vast majority of incidents of ideological crime committed by Israelis falls under the category of agricultural terrorism: attacks on farmers, farm property, and trees. We documented 77 such attacks. The purpose of these attacks is not to convey a message to the IDF but to persuade Palestinian farmers that continuing to farm their land is dangerous and unsustainable and that they should relinquish their land. As we demonstrated in a previous post, this tactic works.
  5. In 41 cases, i.e. more than a quarter of the incidents, the offense was a physical attack on a Palestinian person, sometimes accompanied by an attempted attack on property.
  6. The main reason for the closure of cases is investigative failure: 47 of the cases have been closed, and in the vast majority (39) this was on the grounds of “offender unknown” (“OU” in the table below) – in other words, the police were unable to locate suspects. In four additional cases the reason was “insufficient evidence” (“IE” in the table below). Accordingly, in 88 percent of cases closed, the reason was the incompetence of the Judea and Samaria District Police. Anyone who is familiar with Yesh Din’s statistics, particularly regarding agricultural attacks, will not be surprised by this statistic.

That said, let’s devote a few words to the topic of graffiti. When slogans are daubed abroad, on a synagogue or Jewish cemetery for example, the Israeli media does not regard the incident as mere graffiti, but as a hate crime, and in many cases this is indeed the case. The objective of a hate crime is to terrorize the attacked group and to convey the message that just as they reached them in order to write the graffiti, so they can be reached with a firebomb. In the case of ideological crimes committed by Israeli civilians, when the graffiti accompanies arson attacks, the message is particularly clear. A distinction should be made between graffiti and most of the other actions, which are designed to dispossess Palestinians from their land.

This is our data. The US State Department recently found that Israeli civilians committed 399 hate crimes against Palestinians in 2013, some of which occurred within the boundaries of the State of Israel. Again, it is more than possible that these figures do not represent all incidents.

So let’s stop this talk about graffiti. Comments of the sort are no more than an excuse and an attempt by those who support these crimes to downplay the gravity of the offenses and divert attention from the actual crimes. This excuse is spread thanks to the lazy thoughtlessness of journalists.

And now – the complete list for your review.


No. Date Description of Incident Location Graffiti? Outcome Reason for closure
1 May 1, 2013 Israeli civilians coming from Yitzhar torch 17 trees Burin No Case closed OU
2 May 1, 2013 Israeli civilians coming from Yitzhar torch 16 trees and prevent fire engines from approaching Burin No Case closed OU
3 May 2, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down approx. 40 olive trees Dir Jarir No Not processed by Yesh Din
4 May 2, 2013 Masked Israeli civilians attack Palestinian drivers with stones Hawara No Case closed OU
5 May 2, 2013 Israeli civilians attack Palestinians with stones; soldiers stand by and later assist by firing gas Ras Karkar No Case open
6 May 5, 2013 Israeli civilians throw Molotov cocktails at Palestinian family home, close to IDF observation point Jalud No Not processed by Yesh Din
7 May 6, 2013 Israeli civilians flood Palestinian plot of land with sewage A-Samu’a No Case closed Processed by Civil Admin.
8 May 9, 2013 Israeli civilians ambush and throw stones at Palestinian family in a car; army fails to intervene Close to Yitzhar No Case closed OU
9 May 10, 2013 Masked Israeli civilians torch a barley field Yata No Case closed OU
10 May 12, 2013 Israeli civilians uproot hundreds of saplings, puncture tires, and daub graffiti on graves A-Sawiya Yes! Case closed OU
11 May 13, 2013 Approx. 150 olive trees cut down and vandalized Yatma No Case closed OU
12 May 16, 2013 Security coordinatorthreatens youth, shooting in the air; medical treatment of youth delayed Karyut No Case closed IE
13 May 17, 2013 Israeli civilians coming from Yitzhar attack eastern neighborhood of Urif; IDF provides protection for the attack Urif No Not processed by Yesh Din
14 May 23, 2013 Israeli civilians poison 70 olive trees in plot adjacent to Yitzhar Burin No Case closed OU
15 May 25, 2013 Israeli civilians stone Palestinian home Beitillu No Not processed by Yesh Din
16 May 27, 2013 Israeli civilians set dog on goats; dog kills two goats Kafr Thulth No Case closed Absence of culpability
17 May 28, 2013 Israeli civilians torch stack of wheat Zif No Case closed IE
18 May 29, 2013 Israeli civilians damage trees; IDF denies Palestinians access to plot Awartha Unknown Not processed by Yesh Din
19 May 29, 2013 Israeli civilians torch vehicles; IDF delays arrival of fire engine A-Zubeidat Yes! Case open
20 June 2, 2013 Israeli civilian known to victim attacks Palestinian worker with rifle butt and threatens to murder him Roi No Case closed IE
21 June 3, 2013 Israeli civilians torch approx. 60 olive trees Burin No Not processed by Yesh Din
22 June 3, 2013 Israeli civilians torch approx. 300 olive trees Burin No Case closed OU
23 June 7, 2013 Israeli civilians lead herd to graze in a field or crops, causing damage Rujib No Not processed by Yesh Din
24 June 9, 2013 Israeli civilian invades field allowing flock of sheep to graze, causing damage Burin No Case closed OU
25 June 11, 2013 Israeli civilians steal five goats from a Palestinian Sha’ar Binyamin No Case closed OU
26 June 15, 2013 Israeli civilians burn approx. 75 olive trees and throw stones at Palestinians Imatin No Case closed OU
27 June 15, 2013 Israeli civilians stone home in Furata; army fires tear gas at home Furata No Case closed OU
28 June 15, 2013 Israeli civilians uproot five olive trees, and knock down wall of an agricultural building Kusra No Not processed by Yesh Din
29 June 22, 2013 Israeli civiliansassault Palestinian, throw stones at herd; army fires tear gas at Palestinians Burin No Case closed OU
30 June 24, 2013 Israeli civilianstorch Palestinian home after they were evicted from it Burin No Case closed OU
31 June 27, 2013 Israeli civilians throw stones at moving Palestinian car Yata No Not processed by Yesh Din
32 July 3, 2013 Israeli civilians puncture tires of two vehicles Furata No Not processed by Yesh Din
33 July 6, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down 65 olive trees Jit No Not processed by Yesh Din
34 July 6, 2013 Israeli civilians assault Palestinians, damage vehicles; army stands idly by Hawarta No Case closed
35 July 11, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down 14 olive trees Burin No Not processed by Yesh Din
36 July 13, 2013 Israeli civiliansassault Palestinian woman and stone her home Khalat al-Baluta No

Case closed

OU
37 July 14, 2014 Israeli civilians attack and seriously injure shepherd South Hebron Mountain No Not processed by Yesh Din
38 July 16, 2013 Settlement security personnel cut down trees and saplings belonging to a Palestinian Hebron No Not processed by Yesh Din
39 July 19, 2013 Israeli civilians torch hundreds of olive trees Close to Bat Ayin No Case closed Absence of culpability
40 July 25, 2013 Israeli civilians shoot at Palestinian home Hebron No Case closed OU
41 July 30, 2013 Israeli civilians shoot at Palestinian man, killing three goats Aqraba No Not processed by Yesh Din
42 Aug. 12, 2013 Masked Israeli civilians attack Palestinian home with stones, torch field Jalud No Not processed by Yesh Din
43 Aug. 14, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down trees A-Tawani No Case closed OU
44 Aug. 15, 2013 Israeli civilians break olive trees Burin No Not processed by Yesh Din
45 Aug. 18, 2013 Six masked Israeli civilians attack and seriously injure Palestinian shepherd Mikhmas No Not processed by Yesh Din
46 Aug. 26, 2013 Israeli civilians break olive trees Burin No Case closed OU
47 Aug. 29, 2013 Israeli civilians attack and damage tractor; soldiers disappear from the scene Kusra No Case closed OU
48 Aug. 31, 2013 Masked Israeli civilians attack Palestinians with stones Burin No Case closed OU
49 Sept. 10, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down olive trees A-Tawani No Case closed OU
50 Sept. 12, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down olive trees Beitar Illit No Case closed Absence of culpability
51 Sept. 15, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down olive trees Lakif No Case closed OU
52 Sept. 15, 2013 Israeli civilians torch warehouse full of produce; IDF jeep seen near site of incident Madama No Case closed OU
53 Sept. 17, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down olive trees Lakif No Case closed OU
54 Sept. 20, 2013 Israeli civilians break and burn olive trees and saplings Qaddum No Not processed by Yesh Din
55 Sept. 23, 2013 Israeli civilian assaults Palestinian with pepper spray Hawara No Case closed OU
56 Oct. 1, 2013 Israeli civilians torch Palestinian vehicle Burin No Case closed OU
57 Oct. 2, 2013 Israeli civilians attack Palestinian vehicle with metal object; Palestinian injured and his vehicle damaged Marda No Not processed by Yesh Din
58 Oct. 3, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down young olive trees Zif No Case closed OU
59 Oct. 3, 2013 Israeli civilians vandalize 50-year-old olive trees Dir Sharf No Case closed OU
60 Oct. 4, 2013 Israeli civilians steal sacks of olives Jit No Not processed by Yesh Din
61 Oct. 7, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down olive trees Enclave in Ganei Shomron No Case closed OU
62 Oct. 7, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down 20 olive trees, steal olives, and vandalize approx. 180 additional trees Furata No Case open
63 Oct. 9, 2013 Israeli civilians attack school with stones Jalud No Case open
64 Oct. 10, 2013 Israeli civilians torch olive trees Husan No Not processed by Yesh Din
65 Oct. 12, 2013 Israeli civilians break olive branches and steal olives Imatin No Case open
66 Oct. 12, 2013 Israeli civilians break and saw olive trees Imatin No Not processed by Yesh Din
67 Oct. 12, 2013 Israeli civilians break into warehouse, steal tools worth thousands of shekels, and torch warehouse Husan No Not processed by Yesh Din
68 Oct. 16, 2013 Israeli civilians move their flocks onto private agricultural land, causing damage Yata No Case open
69 Oct. 19, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down dozens of olive trees Karyut No Case open
70 Oct. 20, 2013 Israeli civilians attack Palestinian man with stones Hebron No Case open
71 Oct. 23, 2013 Israeli civilians attack Palestinian during olive harvest Burin No Not processed by Yesh Din
72 Oct. 25, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down trees Hawara No Not processed by Yesh Din
73 Oct. 26, 2013 Masked Israeli civilians attack Palestinians with batons, break camera, steal sacks of olives Al-Mughayer No Referred by B’Tselem
74 Oct. 26, 2013 Israeli civilians attack Palestinians during olive harvest and steal sacks of olives Sinjil No Case open
75 Oct. 29, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down olive trees Inbus No Not processed by Yesh Din
76 Oct. 29, 2013 Israeli civilians steal olives off dozens of trees A-Rihiya No Case open
77 Oct. 31, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down 60 olive trees Izun No Not processed by Yesh Din
78 Nov. 1, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down 13 olive trees Al-Jaba’ No Case closed OU
79 Nov. 7, 2013 Israeli civilians torch two cars Hebron Yes! Case closed IE
80 No. 9, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down approx. 100 olive trees Jit No Not processed by Yesh Din
81 Nov. 14, 2013 Israeli civilians torch home while family is asleep inside Sinjil Yes Case open
82 Nov. 15, 2013 Israeli civilians uproot dozens of olive trees Turmusaya No Not processed by Yesh Din
83 Nov. 17, 2013 Israeli civilians vandalize more than 100 olive trees Yata No Case closed OU
84 Nov. 18, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down dozens of ancient olive trees Al-Jaba’ Yes Not processed by Yesh Din
85 Nov. 19, 2913 Israeli civilians vandalize warehouse, steal produce, and attempt to torch the building Madama Yes Not processed by Yesh Din
86 Nov. 19, 2013 Israeli civilians torch a truck and another vehicle Furata Yes Case open
87 Nov. 19, 2013 Israeli civilians cut down three olive trees Karyut No Not processed by Yesh Din
88 Nov. 25, 2013 Israeli civilians attack home with Molotov cocktails as family sleeps inside Burin No Case closed OU
89 Dec. 2, 2013 Israeli civiliansdestroy traditional oven Umm al-Kheir No Case closed OU
90 Dec. 6, 2013 Israeli civilians torch vehicle Jalud Yes Not processed by Yesh Din
91 Dec. 28, 2013 Israeli civilians assault Palestinian man in field as he farms A-Tawani No Case open
92 Dec. 31, 2013 Israeli civilians torch three vehicles Dura al-Qara Yes Case open
93 Jan. 1, 2014 Israeli civilians cut down trees and damage equipment Madama No Case open
94 Jan. 7, 2014 Israeli civilians assault Palestinians, beat one with baton, and destroy property Kusra No Case open
95 Jan. 9, 2014 “Death to Arabs” daubed on the that was home torched in November Sinjil Yes Case open
96 Jan. 15, 2014 Israeli civilians torch mosque Dir Istiya Yes Case open
97 Jan. 19, 2014 Israeli civilians uproot 30 olive saplings Burin No Case open
98 Jan. 20, 2014 Israeli civilians assault Palestinian man with stones and crowbar Bet Furiq No Not processed by Yesh Din
99 Jan. 21, 2014 Israeli civilians puncture tires on 18 vehicles Qablan Yes Case closed OU
100 Jan. 22, 2014 Israeli civilians uproot thousands of saplings;military position “saw nothing” Sinjil No Case closed OU
101 Jan. 24, 2014 Israeli civilians assault flock of sheep with batons and stones and attack Palestinian defending the flock Umm al-Kheir No Case open
102 April 27, 2014 Israeli civilians uproot and break 14 olive saplings Burin No Case open
103 Feb. 1, 2014 Israeli civilians cut 50 olive trees Beitillu No Case closed OU
104 Feb. 4, 2014 Israeli civilians cut down approx. 100 ancient olive trees Yanun No Case closed OU
105 Feb. 9, 2014 Israeli civilians steal 425 olive saplings and vandalize other trees Turmusaya No Case open
106 Feb. 9, 2014 Israeli civilians steal approx. 500 olive saplings Sinjil No Not processed by Yesh Din
107 Feb. 11, 2014 Israeli civilians cut down almond tree, and assault its owner – a pregnant woman Hebron No Case open
108 Feb. 18, 2014 Israeli civilians attempt to destroy agricultural structure, uproot trees, and steal equipment Al-Khader No Case open
109 Feb. 18, 2014 Israeli civilians uproot and steal approx. 500 olive saplings Turmusaya No Case open
110 Feb. 22, 2014 Israeli civilians assault Palestinians with stones and damage vehicles Jit No Case open
111 Feb. 27, 2014 Israeli civilianstorch home of elderly Palestinian woman Silwad Yes Case open
112 Feb. 28, 2014 Israeli civilians assault and seriously injure Palestinians harvesting olives;IDF soldiers stand idly by Hawara No Case open
113 Mar. 1, 2014 Israeli civilians uproot and slash hundreds of olive saplings Qaddum No Case open
114 Mar. 6, 2014 Israeli civilians bearing sticks assault and injure two Palestinians Al-Mughayer No Case closed OU
115 Mar. 9, 2014 Israeli civilian breaks into plot and drives in it, damaging 60 saplings Nabi Samuil No Case open
116 Mar. 10, 2014 Israeli civilian attempts to steal horse, is apprehended and handed over to the police A-Luban a-Sharqiya No Case open
117 Mar. 11, 2014 Israeli civilians destroy olive trees, assault Palestinians; IDF removes them but does not undertake arrests Burin No Case open
118 Mar. 14, 2014 Israeli civilians cut down approx. 30 olive trees and two almond trees Zif No Case open
119 Mar. 14, 2014 Israeli civilians poison approx. 55 olive trees Jalud No Case open
120 Mar. 24, 2014 Israeli civilians assault Palestinian children with sticks and attempt to kidnap a boy Bet Furiq No Not processed by Yesh Din
121 Mar. 23, 2014 Israeli civilians assault Palestinians with stones, including a Yesh Din researcher; army stands idly by Burin No Case open
122 Mar. 26, 2014 Israeli civilians uproot approx. 1,000 olive saplings Turmusaya No Case open
123 Apr. 2, 2014 Israeli civilians throw stones at moving Palestinian vehicle causing damage Kusra No Not processed by Yesh Din
124 Apr. 3, 2014 Israeli civilians torch 10 olive trees Karyut No Case open
125 Apr. 5, 2014 Israeli civilians cut down approx. 50 olive trees Burin No Case open
126 Apr. 16, 2014 Israeli civilians invade home and trample on produce in yard; police arrests the owner of the house Luban No Not processed by Yesh Din
127 Apr. 18, 2014 Israeli civilians torch henhouse, thousands of chicks burned alive Madama No Not processed by Yesh Din
128 Apr. 19, 2014 Israeli civilians vandalize approx. 80 olive trees Ras Karkar No Case open
129 Apr. 19, 2014 Israeli civilian sets dog on shepherdess and flock, attacks her with stones, and threatens her with a weapon Kisan No Case open
130 Apr. 25, 2014 Israeli civilians steal mule Al-Janiya No Not processed by Yesh Din
131 Apr. 25, 2014 Israeli civilian assaults flock of sheep with stones Nabi Samwil No Case open
132 Apr. 27, 2014 Israeli civilians systematically vandalize approx. 200 olive saplings Hawara No Case open

Written by Yossi Gurvitz in his capacity as a blogger for Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights. A version of this post was first published on Yesh Din’s blog.

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