No jail for Jewish extremists in "price tag" attacks
Jewish extremists whistle during a demonstration in front of the Magistrates Court in Jerusalem on 3 January 2012 to demand the release of their comrades who had been arrested by Israeli authorities in connection with the ongoing wave of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and the army. (Photo: AFP - Menahem Kahana)
Published Thursday, January 5, 2012
Twelve Jewish extremists involved in "price tag" arson attacks on Palestinians in recent weeks have escaped jail time, but will instead be barred from the West Bank for up to a year, Israel's military revealed in a statement on Tuesday.
Referring to the men as "activists," the statement said that one man has been banned for one year, while the others will not be able to enter the occupied Palestinian territory for varied periods between three and nine months.
Israel's military said these men were suspected of involvement in violence targeting Palestinians and Israeli forces, and described the orders issued as a "preventative measure to remove the threat by the activists in the area."
Israeli media reports said the settlers named in the orders lived at four Jewish enclaves built in the territory Israel captured in a 1967 war which Palestinians seek for a state.
The measures follow a pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month to crackdown on Jewish extremism in the West Bank and prevent further violence.
A number of Palestinian properties have been attacked in previous weeks, including mosques, homes, and vehicles.
The latest "price tag" attack occurred only yesterday when Jewish extremists burnt Palestinian cars, and scrawled anti-Arab graffiti in Hebrew.
Israeli settlers routinely harass and attack Palestinians in the West Bank, with their crimes rarely punished as Israeli security forces often turn a blind eye.
By contrast, Palestinians are frequently detained and suffer from tight daily restrictions imposed by Israeli occupation forces.
On Tuesday, undercover Israeli forces abducted and briefly detained a six-year-old Palestinian boy in Jerusalem.
Israeli troops interrogated the child in the hope he would reveal the names of stone-throwing Palestinian youths.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law, but construction continues in defiance of the international community and to the detriment of the indigenous Palestinian population.
Israel has maintained a military occupation of the West Bank since 1967.
(Al-Akhbar, AFP, Ma'an)