Last week’s arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma burned to death a Palestinian baby and severely injured his parents and his brother. It also re-introduced to the term “Price Tag,” the violent attacks by settlers – mainly against Palestinians, and sometimes against Israelis – that range in severity between vandalism and murder.
The attack again demonstrated the misperceptions among Israelis and Americans about the nature of the violence perpetrated by extremist settlers. Contrary to what many would like to believe, these acts of violence – including murderous attacks such as last week’s – are typically not carried out by lone psychopaths or even by a handful of lunatics.
These Price Tag attacks are a part of a strategy that the ideological settlers’ establishment has adopted eight or nine years ago, and which has a clear political goal. In the short run, the goal is to obstruct and deter law enforcement inside settlements, to deter Israeli law enforcement authorities from demolishing illegally built structures in settlements. In the long run, however, Price Tag is intended to deter Israeli leaders from implementing a possible future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that entails removing Israeli settlements from the West Bank.
To better understand the inception and the evolution of Price Tag, please read my 2011 article, published in the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law. I welcome your feedback.