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Monday, June 17, 2013

Government finds its senses, 'fails' to declare vandalism terror

The security cabinet 'failed' to declare 'price tag attacks' like the one above to be terrorism. And with good reason. There's a huge difference between attacks that target random human beings and attacks that target property.

But in my view, the government went too far. The government gave the Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon the power to declare 'price tag activists' an 'illegal association.' That's a classification that's used to charge all members of terrorist groups with membership in an unlawful association even if there's no proof that member x was actually involved in a given terror attack. Such an inchoate crime (essentially a thought crime) is problematic enough when we're talking about terrorism - it's even more problematic when we're talking about vandalism.

And then, why is Yaalon being brought into this in the first place. 'Price tag attacks' are vandalism and should be handled by the police like all other vandalism. They should not be a subject for the army or the defense ministry.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the decision “significantly expands the investigative and judicial tools available to the security forces and law enforcement authorities against so-called ‘price-tag’ actions.”
The new measures include stiffer sentencing and lengthier prison terms, according to an Israeli official.
The PMO explained that the security cabinet “authorized Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to use his authority under defense regulations to declare ‘price-tag’ activists an illegal association.”
“This will significantly strengthen the ability to fight ‘price-tag’ phenomena,” it added.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni would continue to advance other legislation that would also deal with the issue, the PMO said.
Livni, along with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, have in the last few months advocated for classifying price-tag attacks as acts of terror.
And the 'Israeli Arab' MK's, who would like nothing more than to see Israeli Jews charged with terrorism, are complaining that the decision doesn't go far enough.
But MK Esawi Frej attacked the security cabinet’s decision, charging that it had caved to pressure from right-wing extremists.
“Equality before the law?” he asked. “Democracy? This is total capitulation to King Bibi. An illegal association? But we should declare price-tag terrorists as an unsympathetic youth movement.”
“Again, for the thousandth time, Bibi has shown that he is not working for the Israeli public but for extreme right-wing settlers,” Frej said.
What Netanyahu is really doing is sanctioning attacks against Arabs, he said.
“But when an Arab child throws a stone against a Jew, he is declared a terrorist and taken away for questioning in the middle of the night.
“We are talking about a disgraceful decision that affects every Israeli Arab citizen and every person who believes in equitable treatment,” Frej said.
“What is true for Ahmed has to be true for Moshe. This is something so simple that every child can understand it – except our prime minister.”
Sorry, but there's a huge difference between throwing a stone at a moving car and painting the words "Regards from Evyatar, May God Avenge his blood" on the wall of a building (see the picture above). If our 'Israeli Arab' MK's truly cannot see that, they have bigger problems than intellectual dishonesty.

Read the whole thing.

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