Israeli campaign group Peace Now has raised eyebrows by beginning a series of tours of Palestinian villages subjected to ‘price tag’ attacks by settlers.
The group will lead participants through locations in the West Bank that have been spray-painted with abusive and threatening phrases or which were the targets of arson attempts.
“There is a notable thirst, especially among students and other young people, to observe the reality with their own eyes,” Peace Now’s director Yariv Oppenheimer said.
“Our goal is to demonstrate that the expansion of settlements undermines prospects for peace, as well as to show the impact of settlements and outposts on life in the area, to expose the public to the harassment taking place there,” he said.
So-called ‘price tag’ attacks are acts of terror usually performed against Palestinian property and typically carried out by Jewish nationalists in retribution for government moves. They have become increasingly common in recent years, targeting mosques, churches and even Israeli military bases.
“This unacceptable trend is in my opinion terror in every sense of the word,” said hawkish Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon earlier in January. “It is a stain on Israel and it undermines the settlement enterprise.”
Israeli officials have vowed to crack down on the attacks, but in recent week a key cabinet committee rejected a bill that aimed to define the attacks as terrorism.
The annual rate of Jewish extremist attacks against Palestinians has almost quadrupled over the past eight years, and now includes cutting down trees, defacing places of worship and beating Palestinian farmers.