Israel is a victim, too

By Tim Marshall, October 6, 2011
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There are two victims of the "price tag" campaign in Israel and the West Bank; those targeted by extremist Jewish gangs - and the state of Israel.

For more than two years groups of settler youths have attacked property belonging to Palestinians including mosques, homes and cars. Livestock has been killed, hundreds of olive trees uprooted, crops have been burnt. An IDF base has been attacked, Israeli officials have been smeared online.

The "price tag" slogan was hit upon by the gangs who began spray-painting it on walls, along with racist comments following attacks. It refers to the "revenge" taken against the state for every settlement demolished, and the "price" Arabs will suffer for every attack on Jews. With attacks on Palestinians rising, the damage done to ordinary Palestinians is obvious; less tangible is the harm done to Israel.

Israelis may have got used to the grotesque misuse of the words "Nazi", and "apartheid" in relation to their country, but use of the words "pogrom" and "terrorism" are closer to the mark when it comes to "price tag".

Neo-Nazi attacks in Europe are not blamed on the country where they occur, but the burning of the Galilee mosque will be used by Israel's enemies as a stick with which to beat the country. Israel could start by rounding up the usual suspects.

Tim Marshall is foreign affairs editor at Sky News

Last updated: 2:04pm, October 6 2011