Jerusalem court issues first-ever 'price tag' indictment

12:00 Nov 7 2011 Jerusalem

By BEN HARTMAN for Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday issued the first-ever indictment for a “price tag” operation, charging two 18-year-olds and a minor in connection to two incidents that occurred in March.

The suspects included 18- year-old Hillel Leibowitz of Hebron, 18-year-old Yisrael Katz of Sde Eliezer, and an unnamed minor from the center of the country.

The indictment alleges that on March 13, the day of the funeral for the Fogel family from Itamar, Leibowitz vandalized an SUV belonging to Jerusalem resident Muhammed Bakrit, while it was parked in the Givat Shaul neighborhood. Leibowitz allegedly punctured four of the Toyota Land Cruiser’s tires and broke several windows, causing NIS 23,716 in damage.

Later that night, police stopped the three suspects near the Arab village of Baka al-Gharbiya, while they were traveling in a car they stole from a resident of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

According to the indictment, the car contained two plastic bottles of diesel fuel and three pairs of black gloves.

The indictment alleges the three were planning to carry out an arson in the village or one of the other Arab villages nearby.

The three suspects are being charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and using a car without the owner’s permission.

Leibowitz also faces a premeditated vandalism charge for the incident in Givat Shaul.

Price tag operations refer to acts of violence or vandalism carried out against Palestinians and/or Arab Israelis by right-wing Israelis to protest Israeli government policy.

Price tag actions have included the torching of mosques, as well as vandalism directed against IDF equipment and vehicles in the West Bank.

Though there have been arrests in the past, until this week, there had never been an indictment made in such a case. The police asked for their remand to be extended, but on Monday night the court released the three suspects on bail.
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