UK minister condemns 'abhorrent' attacks on Arab property

Middle East Minister Alistair Burt has criticised the so-called "price tag" attacks committed in the Arab-Israeli town of Abu Ghosh this week, calling them “an abhorrent phenomenon”.

The attacks, which were reportedly carried out by right-wing Israeli settlers, included graffiti reading “Arabs out” and “racism or assimilation”, sprayed on walls and the slashing of car tires.

Mr Burt said the violence “must be tackled firmly”, and welcomed the “widespread condemnation of these attacks in Israel and the Israeli government’s stated intention to bring those responsible to justice".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres also condemned the vandalism, with Mr Netanyahu stating that the attacks were “against Judaism's mitzvot and against the values of our people and our state".

The Israeli Cabinet reacted by passing measures which will allow the Defence Ministry to more easily prosecute offenders committing similar attacks, although it was decided not to classify such attacks as terrorist acts.

Abu Ghosh, located to the west of Jerusalem, previously had a history of peaceful coexistence.

Last updated: 12:29pm, June 21 2013