Further to my (Tal) post regarding the interest of politicians in the village of Fureidis here’s a contribution by Afif Abu Much, a 32-year-old high tech professional and a resident of Baqa al-Gharbiyye.
The US State Department has released its Global Terrorism Report in which it criticised the Israeli government’s treatment of those sabotage anti-Semitic operations known as “price tag”. It referred to those activities unequivocally as terrorism.
“Price tag” attacks against Israel’s Arab population have become widespread so that the map of those affected includes Akbara, Jish, Fureidis, Umm el-Fahm , Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Jaljulia, Kafr Qasem , Deir Rafat, Abu Ghosh and Jerusalem . In some places property was damaged; elsewhere places of worship, both mosques and churches were hit. And all this is without mentioning attacks against Palestinians living beyond the Green Line which occur day in and day out.
As an Israeli who studied the atrocities of the 20th century’s 1930’s, I cannot understand a people who have been through the Holocaust and suffered the sight of burning synagogues. I cannot understand how a people who experienced what it’s like to be a persecuted minority for quite a few years, acquiesce to this terrorist phenomenon called price tag does not put an end to the ongoing attacks on property and the Arab citizens places of worship.
Why call it “price tag ” anyway? What price is the Arab community meant to pay? And what for? Is this the price for some future consideration of a cessation of settlement building by the state? For this we need to wake up to discover that a mosque or a church has been torched? What is the connection between this and what happens in the settlements? It’s time to stop burying our heads in the sand and cease speaking about rotten apples or a passing phenomenon. This is an ongoing terrorism against the Arab community which is paying the price through no fault of its own. And it needs to be dealt with the same as one deals with terrorism, with unyielding strong arm methods.
Last June , Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected advice from the internal security service, the Shabak, to classify “price tag” practitioners as a terrorist organisation. He softened the recommendation and categorised them as belonging to an “unlawful association”. This was out of fear of a coalition crisis and in response to political pressure from the leadership of the settlers and Right in the Jewish Home Party as well as his own.
Does that sound plausible to you? Netanyahu opposed the recommendation of the Shabak, which wanted to deal with the “price tag” phenomenon and put an end to the attacks on the Arab population, in order not to upset the Right and settlers! Really? It doesn’t really surprise me when it comes from a prime minister who rarely condemns these heinous acts (sometimes he does pay lip service to it). This is the PM who recently suggested to the US administration to consider transfer of a sovereign Israeli region in the Triangle area where about 300 thousand Israeli Arab citizens live to compensate the Palestinian Authority for the annexation of the settlement blocs in a land swap between the parties.
So why would anybody be surprised that he and his government do not really go out of their way to combat these criminal acts and do everything to stop them? And please don’t get excited about this or that minister’s visit to Fureidis. The question is which way would they have voted had the Prime Minister allows a vote on classifying the “price tag” activists as a terrorist organisation.
By the way, have you noticed that no one visited Umm el-Fahm , following the attack on the mosque there?
The writing is on the wall , as long as the Israeli government and its leader maintain their duplicitous two-faced charade when it comes to “price tag” , we will continue to see attacks on mosques, churches and the property of the Arab community in Israel. I would suggest that Netanyahu quickly summons the Shabak chief, the Minister for Defence, the Attorney-General and the Minister for Public Security to enable and empower them to do everything possible in order to put an end to violence by “price tag” activists and not be too fussy in choosing measures to eliminate this terror.
How could a country that captured a ship full of weapons 1500 kilometres from Israel’s shores and whose long arm reached Dubai (according to foreign sources) cannot put an end to it? It’s only when “price tag” activist would know that they and only they, and not the Arab community, would pay the price that they would think a thousand times before deciding to attack one place of worship or another.
Nevertheless I’d like to end on an optimistic note: I believe it is certainly possible to put an end to this phenomenon and to set out on a new unsoiled path while increasing cooperation with the Other. Because without doubt a key basis for solidity and success of any society in general and Israeli society in particular is the principle of diversity and cooperation between the various communities in the country. For example, it was certainly possible to have invited the residents of nearby Zichron Yaacov to identify themselves with the victims of price tag and go on strike as an act of solidarity with their Fureidis neighbours. Otherwise, at the end of the day we will all pay the price with no difference between Jew and Arab.
Translation from Hebrew with the kind assistance of Sol Salbe (Thanks!)