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3 Israeli extremists arrested for intention to carry out 'price tag' attacks on Palestinians

June 21, 2017 5:37 P.M. (Updated: June 21, 2017 6:42 P.M.)
"Death to Arabs" painted in Hebrew(Israeli police spokesperson, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli magistrate's court in Jerusalem has extended the remand of an 18-year-old Israeli who was arrested on Sunday for being suspected of attempting to carry out a “price tag” attack -- a term used by right-wing extremist settlers to refer to the attacks they carry out on Palestinians and their property.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement in Arabic on Wednesday that the 18-year-old was arrested along with two other “extreme right-wing activists,” aged 16 and 17, on Bar Lev street in Jerusalem, wearing hats and head covers "that they seemingly planned to use as masks.”

The three, residents of the illegal Israeli Binyamin settlement and the Jerusalem area, also had spray-paint canisters and a "sharp tool" in their possession. “It seems they were planning to puncture car tires and spray paint hate slogans,” on Palestinian property, al-Samri said.

On Wednesday, in addition to extending the remand of the 18-year-old suspect, Israel’s Jerusalem district attorney “submitted a statement in preparation to indict him.”

The other two suspects were released and sentenced to house arrest for an unspecified time period, on account that they are minors, according to al-Samri. By contrast, Palestinian minors are routinely detained, tried, and sentenced as adults for offenses such as throwing rocks.

While al-Samri said that the arrests were made as “efforts continued, secretly and in public, in order to protect citizens' properties,” many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians.

In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016. OCHA has recorded 56 such attacks since the beginning of the year.

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