Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A "price tag" too far

The Noor Mosque in Tuba Zanghariya village in the Galillee was torched on Sunday night. The fact that the arsonists left a message in Hebrew sprayed on the wall naming "price tag" (mahir tug) indicates that it was the work of Jewish extremists who were seeking revenge for the murder last week of American-Israeli Asher Palmer and his baby son. However, this attack was significantly different from previous attacks of this kind on mosques, that took place in two West Bank villages, since this was the first such attack on an Israeli Arab village. Not only that but the arsonists failed to check that this is a Beduin Arab village, where the villagers are loyal to the State of Israel, celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) instead of the Nakba (catastrophe day) and serve in the IDF.

There were many sentiments of support for the village, up to and including President Peres, who visited the site and expressed the deep shame and condolences of the Jewish people for this crime. The police are investigating, although in previous cases they have been unable to identify the culprits. PM Netanyahu expressed his shock at this attack and promised that the police will do all in their power to bring the culprits to justice and promised greater support for their efforts. The US State Dept. also deplored the attack, but noted the Israeli Government likewise strongly opposed this vandalism. It is important to note the great difference between the Palestinian Arabs who live on the West Bank, who generally may be involved in anti-Israel activities, to the Beduin, Druse and sometimes Christian Arabs who live in Israel, who are Israeli citizens and are often loyal to the State of Israel and serve in its armed forces.

After a small riot in the village in which 4 were arrested, the situation has calmed down. Local Jewish settlements, kibbutzim and villages, that have good relations with the Arab villagers, have pledged their support to repair the damage. The outpouring of shock and sympathy in Israel must have boomeranged on the Jewish extremists who carried out the attack, as they apparently did this in order to drive a wedge between Arabs and Jews. But, it did not succeed. This was a "price tag" attack too far!


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