Long a source of much lip service and very little actual policy change, the “price tag” attacks appear to have reached a critical mass today in Israel, as dozens of settlers attacked an Israeli Army base in the occupied West Bank, destroying vehicles and setting fires.
Announcing that the attack “crossed all the lines,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised retaliation in a big way, saying he would “fight with all my power as the prime minister” and saying that he has asked Shin Bet and the Defense Ministry to draft a plan to “take care of the rioters.”
The “price tag” attack movement started as a way of protesting the Israeli government’s halfhearted efforts to negotiate with the Palestinians, as the settler movement opposes Palestinian statehood. Even though no talks have been held in over a year the attacks have escalated, and gone beyond the usual tactics of burning mosques or chopping down olive trees and escalated into attacking the Israeli military itself.
The escalation is something Israeli intelligence officials have been warning the military about for quite some time, but while vandalizing a Christian cemetery was worth a bit of public criticism, it is only now that the military seems to be getting seriously and directly effected that the Netanyahu government seems serious about tackling the issue.