December 4, 2008
"The price-tag strategy concerns Israeli authorities, since it encourages the radical fringe to take the law into its own hands."

The vast majority of the approximately 300,000 Israelis living in West Bank settlements are law-abiding citizens. An extremist fringe element within the settler movement, however, has been responsible for a substantial increase in violent incidents. … This violence appears to be part of a deliberate campaign … to prevent the dismantlement of settlements and outposts. They are using a strategy called the "price tag," which is a retaliation for government efforts challenging the settlement enterprise in the West Bank. …

The price-tag strategy concerns Israeli authorities, since it encourages the radical fringe to take the law into its own hands. … [The] violence and lawlessness shocked Israeli leaders; Prime Minister Ehud Olmert condemned the attack as a "pogrom." More ominously, Israeli Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin has warned the cabinet that the radical fringe perceives the price-tag policy as successful and that the group is threatening to expand the use of violence outside the West Bank. …

In relative terms, the violence perpetrated by radical elements among the Jewish settler movement pales in comparison to the well-orchestrated, highly public, popularly supported lethal attacks of radical Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. This fringe group of Jewish extremists has so far not carried out a fatal terrorist attack, while Islamist groups have killed hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians. …

This sense of proportionality, however, does not obscure the fact that Israeli security officials are increasingly concerned about the trajectory of recent events. This concern points to the substantial increase in the organization of the extremist elements within the settler movement and their willingness to use force to advance their goals. Access the full article>>

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