The Shin Bet and the police complain for years they can’t deal with the “price tag” attacks. Here’s a modest proposal.

The phenomenon of “price tag” attacks have been with us for some seven years now, and during this period, the authorities have failed utterly in dealing with them. Time and time again, we were told by the police and the ISA (Israeli Security Agency, AKA Shin Bet) that we’re dealing with an ultra-sophisticated group, which cannot be penetrated.

A new report in this genre was broadcast on Tuesday on Channel 10 (Hebrew). The police and ISA seem to have made a great effort, if not in getting their hands on the terrorists, then at least in massaging their image: The reporter, the very able and honest Roey Sharon, received a copy of an internal ISA document, as well as footage of detectives capturing “price tag” attackers red-handed.

No ISA or police representative was quoted, but former General Avi Mizrahi spoke at length, saying you simply cannot recruit these guys as informers. Mizrahi bemoaned the fact that Price Taggers are irresponsible people who can easily set the entire sector on fire. You don’t say. Maybe Mizrahi ought to have thought about it when, as commander of the Central Command, he agreed to attend a ceremony honoring Dov Lior; the latter is considered to be one of the most extreme rabbis around, and at the time was wanted by the police for failing to show up for interrogation. If Mizrahi – a uniformed officer, and in fact the “Stand-in for the sovereign” in the West Bank – decided to honor the man who wrote his agreement with the “Torat Ha’Melekh” book, how seriously should his commitment to fighting the Price Tag terror be taken?

We are told that the ISA and the police have a hard time gathering human intelligence (HUMINT) among Price Taggers. That’s probably true. Then again, it’s hard to believe the Price Taggers are a band of particularly hardened veterans of the KGB school of dirty tricks who also graduated from the Spetznatz. The ISA says a document written by Noam Federman exposed all its tricks a decade ago; Well, it was a decade ago. Come up with new ones.

But, given that the ISA finds it hard to get HUMINT on Price Taggers, we at Yesh Din are happy to aid them, and ask them to kindly watch the short video below. It was taken by Yesh Din investigator, Munir Qadus, during Tuesday’s pogrom.

[youtube_sc url=SaP8W14kMqk rel=0 fs=1 autohide=1 modestbranding=1]

As can be seen, a group of hooded settlers is briskly marching home away from yet another successful pogrom, while a group of tired-looking IDF soldiers waddles behind, obviously there to make certain the hoodlums won’t get into too much trouble. The Price Taggers, how do I put it, do not behave as a particularly secretive military unit.

Here is our operational suggestion:

  1. In the future, the IDF troops should not accompany the rioters, but rather detain them. This is innovative, true, and will force the IDF’s command to update its thinking, but for that same reason will be very surprising to the rioters. The element of surprise, as is well known, is the main ingredient in military success.
  2. Furthermore, as the IDF does when it encounters left-wing demonstrators, it will diligently document the incident in video and photographs.
  3. As the rioters are detained, their veils will be removed and they will be photographed, and the investigators will cross-reference the pictures of the suspects with hoods on and off.
  4. As soon as they are photographed, the detainees will be sent separately to different interrogation facilities, where they will be interrogated according to legal procedures.
  5. In addition, the security forces will use the revolutionary method of getting search and seizure orders for the settlements, looking for illegal weapons, as well as stolen Palestinian property.

We would further inform the ISA that the report mentioned the fact that IDF troops repeatedly inform the Price Taggers about plans to evacuate outposts. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not new. These soldiers ought to be identified, which shouldn’t be at all difficult, tried, imprisoned and drummed out of the army, as befitting armed men who betrayed their oath of service.

There are just two problems with this nice plan: The first is that the settler political establishment will rise on its hindquarters to prevent it. We are certain that the ISA, which is dedicated to an apolitical battle against terrorism, will not be perturbed. Even so, it’s important to remember that the chiefs of the ISA interviewed in the movie “The Gatekeepers” have already testified that the political will to fight Jewish terrorism is basically non-existent. As our latest report, “The Road to Dispossession“, shows, Jewish terrorism manages to accomplish what it set out to accomplish: The continuation of the land grab in the West Bank.

The second, more severe problem is that I find it hard to believe anything written here is actually news to the police and the ISA, and that it’s hard to shake the feeling that the ISA – despite all the high-minded words about the strategic dangers of the Price Tag terrorism – still invests much more energy, much more thought, in detaining Palestinian political activists than in thwarting Jewish terrorism.