NEW YORK, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following the overnight acts of vandalism in Abu Ghosh, AJC urged Israeli authorities to further intensify efforts to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators of the so-called "price tag" attacks.
Vandals slashed the tires of 28 cars and spray-painted graffiti stating "Arabs out" in the Israeli Arab village near Jerusalem.
Abu Ghosh is the latest Arab community in Israel and the West Bank targeted by vandals who have left damaged property and hateful, threatening graffiti on cars and walls. Israeli police suspect that Jewish extremists are responsible, using vandalism to express opposition to Israeli government policies they consider pro-Palestinian and anti-settler.
"Whether these despicable assaults are organized or one-off acts of hooliganism, price tag attacks are threats to Israeli democracy, and every effort must be made to put them to an end," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Targeting Abu Ghosh, historically one of Israel's most peaceful and friendly Arab villages, illustrates the malicious aims of the perpetrators."
Prime Minister Netanyahu, condemning the attack, said "what happened today in Abu Ghosh goes against Judaism's mitzvot (commandments) and against the values of our people and our state."
"We couldn't agree more with the Prime Minister," Harris added.
Israel political leaders across the spectrum condemned the attack, and conveyed empathy to the mayor of Abu Ghosh. At the same time, the attack came a day after the Israeli Cabinet failed to designate "price tag" attacks as acts of terrorism.
The terrorism label had been pressed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, and the Shin Bet. The Cabinet decided to label 'price tag' attackers as an illegal organization.
"'Price tag' attacks are terror acts for all intents and purposes," said Aharonovich, after the incident in Abu Ghosh. "This phenomenon might bring about a serious deterioration in Jerusalem and the West Bank."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee