The arson attack against a West Bank town overnight that killed an 18-month-old Palestinian and wounded his family is fueling a new round of unrest in the occupied territories, and the predictable Israeli military crackdowns against it.
Perhaps the bigger problem for Israel is that this latest attack by the settlers’ ‘price tag’ movement has brought renewed attention to Israel’s policy toward settlements in the West Bank, and the Israeli government’s disinterest in doing anything about the price tag attacks.
While Israel usually gives lip-service to doing something about price tag attacks, but arrests are rare, and convictions all but unheard of. With the far-right Israeli government so heavily dependent on support from the settlers, anything more than a token attempt to arrest culprits is too politically risky.
That seemed to more-or-less fly internationally when the settlers were burning mosques and slashing tires, but killing a child has caught a lot more attention than Israel is used to, and will make keeping the “price tag” movement as their dirty little secret may no longer be an option. The political dependence on the settlers is also greater than ever, however, meaning serious efforts to catch the culprits will be problematic.