Settlers ‘Price Tag’ Policy

Blocking roads, throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles and burning Palestinian orchards and fields all over the West Bank, radical Israelis are taking law into their hands.

"We are taking our fate into our own hands," Gershon Mesika, a Jewish leader, told The New York Times on Friday, September 26.

Settlers are increasingly resorting to extremist tactics to abort any attempt to dismantle their settlements.

They follow an aggressive doctrine called "price tag" or "mutual concern", which calls on settlers to respond "whenever, wherever and however" they wish to any attempt to lay a finger on property in illegally built outposts scheduled by the government for removal.

The policy also encourages settlers to avenge Palestinian acts of violence by taking the law into their own hands.

In recent weeks, settlers blocked roads, threw stones at passing vehicles and burning Palestinian orchards and fields in response to limited army operations.

Last Wednesday, Israeli historian Zeev Sternhell, known for his criticism of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, was injured when bomb exploded outside his Jerusalem home.

Near his home, Israeli authorities have found fliers offering nearly $300,000 to anyone who kills a member of Peace Now, an anti-settlements group.

In Jewish settlements like Yitzhar, an extremist bastion on the hilltops commanding the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, settlers terrorized Palestinian neighbors after an attack on a settler house.

Scores of settlers rampaged through the Palestinian village, hurling rocks and firing guns, in what resigned Israeli premier Ehud Olmert described as a "pogrom."

"We would rather fight and kill the enemy," said 21-year-old settler Ephraim Ben Shochat.

"We’re fighting against a nation."


The radical settlers are also tightening their grip, bringing more of their supporters to the executive positions.

In northern West Bank and in Binyamin, the central district around the Palestinian city of Ramallah, settlers recently ousted their more mainstream representatives in local council elections, voting in what they called "activist" mayors instead.

These new mayors reject any negotiations with the government over the removal or relocation of settlement outposts in the West Bank.

"We won’t go like sheep to the slaughter," said Mesika.

More than 250,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank among roughly 2.4 million Palestinians, not including Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem).

There are more than 164 Jewish settlements in the West Bank, eating up more than 40 percent of the occupied territory.

The international community considers all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land illegal.
( and agencies)

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