The far-right Israeli government, including its leader Bibi Netanyahu, has pointedly refused to use the “T” word in describing the violent price tag attacks by extremist settlers against Palestinian sacred sites. In a development that is sure to raise eyebrows in Israel and create a fracture between the political and intelligence echelons, Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen has specifically labelled these as acts of “terror” and said that they and suspects arrested for them would be treated as such. He did so in a meeting with Israeli ambassadors hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Which means that Cohen, at a meeting hosted by a ministry headed by a settler who supports (at least tacitly) price tag attacks, the Shin Bet director took a decisively contrarian position. In fact, the Maariv story says the diplomats who heard him were shocked by his words since they were at such a remove from his boss, the PM.
Good for Cohen. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Shabak is getting any better at catching these low-life criminals. They’ve done nothing more than arrest a few suspects who they invariably free after a period of time. No charges have been filed after months of such attacks, and certainly no one has been convicted. It’s a failure of will on the part of every element of the government from police to intelligence to prosecutors to ministers themselves.