Price Tag Policy; cost of being Palestinian

Ali Dawabsha was 18-months old when a “price tag” attack took his life and that of his parents and left his 4 year old brother critically wounded and alone. Assailants had set fire to his home burning his body and leaving him scorched to the bone. The attackers had left graffiti in Hebrew reading “Revenge,” along with the Star of David.

The case of the Dawabsha family sparked outrage among Palestinians living in the West Bank and Al-Quds who grieved for having to pay the so-called price for living in their own land, for being Palestinian, and principally for existing.

What is Price Tag Policy?

What is known as the “Price Tag Policy” describes the acts of vandalism carried out by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian population. Extremist settlers exact a price from Palestinians for standing in the way of their illegal settlements.

In other words, price tag is tantamount to hate crime. Many contend that the name is a euphemism used to belittle the motives behind the attacks and the fact that they terrorize Palestinians.

B’Tselem, an Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, has documented numerous such incidents which included assaults against civilians, arson attacks, religious desecrations, torching and uprooting olive trees, throwing stones, spraying offensive graffiti, and damaging vehicles.

80% of these attacks are reported to have taken place in the West Bank while up to 15% were witnessed in the holy city of al-Quds, also referred as Jerusalem.

Recent Attacks

In the beginning of 2016, the walls of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem were marked with graffiti which threatened Palestinian Christians in the city.

YNET’s report which cited information from the church went as follows:

“According to the church, more than ten different Hebrew inscriptions were spray-painted on the wall, ‘seemingly written by different hands, translate to ‘Christians go to hell’, ‘death to Christians, the heretical enemies of Israel,’ ‘the revenge of the children of Israel is on its way’, and ‘may his name be obliterated’.”

Earlier in December, settlers staged an attack northwest of the city of Ramallah, breaking the window of a house after midnight and through tear gas canisters into the house, where a father, mother, and their 9-month old baby were sleeping. The family, however, was not injured.

On June 30, 2015 graffiti expressing anti-Arab sentiment smeared the walls of a school in Jerusalem. The same school was subject to arson in the same year.

But a month before this incident, a deadly attack rattled the Palestinian public. It was the assault that led to the death of a baby boy in Duma. This infant was Ali Dawabsha.

Regime inaction

While claims that this “policy” is only carried out by extremist settlers have been issued, the Israeli regime has done little to counter them, even turning a blind to the perpetrators. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the regime is committed to catching the criminals—of course since he was obliged to say so. However, only a few attackers have been caught with the police force often looking the other way.

One opposition member in the Knesset has addressed the issue in mid-June saying that “it is not logical that Israel, which is blessed with intelligence and operational capabilities that are among the best in the world, cannot catch an extremist group that causes indescribable damage.”

The inaction on the part of the regime is equivalent to action in this case. Allowing gangs to form and carry out crimes against Palestinians is a way of implementing Tel Aviv’s agenda without taking the blame. Already, the Israeli regime has a lot to be held accountable for starting with the occupation of Palestine, its wars and blockade against the Gaza Strip, and last but not least its policies against Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem as well as continuing land theft.

The picture of Dawabsha was found among the belongings of the family. Unlike the child, it survived the fire to remind the world of who used to live in that house in Duma, to tell the story of one of the victims of the so-called Price Tag Policy while almost everything else went up flames.

By Alwaght