Friday, July 24, 2009

Price Tag Policy

Schott's Vocab - A miscellany of modern words and phrases
The New York Times
July 24, 2009, 4:30 am

Attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank protesting against the actions of the Israeli army.

Reporting from Jerusalem for The Times of London, Sheera Frenkel wrote:

Israeli settlers on horseback set fire to fields of olive trees and stoned Palestinian cars in the West Bank yesterday, apparently in response to the Israeli army’s removal of an illegal outpost in the area.

At least 1,500 Palestinian-owned trees were destroyed and two Palestinians were injured in the attack, near the city of Nablus, by about 30 settlers, security officials said. Farmers fought fires late into the afternoon, as fears grew that the flames would spread across the dry summer fields.

Anshel Pfeffer and Jack Khoury noted in Haaretz that “olives are an important cash crop for Palestinians, who have complained of frequent attacks on their groves by settlers.” According to Frenkel:

It was the most recent example of the “price tag” policy, in which settlers seek revenge by attacking Palestinians for every outpost that is demolished. “The goal is to create a price for each evacuation, causing Israeli authorities to think twice about carrying them out,” the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said.

A settler activist, Itamar Ben-Gvir, put it more directly: “We will not be suckers for the Israeli Government. We will not sit idly by and allow them to remove our homes,” he said.

The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has pledged to remove some, though not all, of the illegal outposts; but Frenkel noted that “settler leaders have sworn to rebuild two for every one that is taken down”:

The settlements, built on land earmarked for a future Palestinian state, have emerged as a key sticking point in efforts between Israel and the international community to forge a peace deal. While the US and Britain have pushed Israel to agree to a complete settlement freeze and the dismantling of dozens of outposts, the Jewish state has sought a compromise that would mean only a partial freeze, and the completion of 2,500 homes already in the late stages of construction.

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