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Legal treatment of alleged ‘price tag’ vandals reportedly akin to terror suspects

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a police decision to prohibit three Jewish suspects in "price tag" attacks from meeting with their lawyer for three days after their arrest.

Wednesday’s decision reportedly places their Dec. 2 vandalism attacks on the same level as Palestinian acts of terror.

The men, residents of Jewish West Bank settlements, were arrested after a car was set ablaze in the Palestinian village of Dahariya, near Hebron. The words "price tag" were spray-painted on a wall near the arson attack.

Price tag refers to the strategy that Jewish extremists have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians and Arabs in retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions, or for Palestinian attacks on Jews.

By preventing them from meeting with legal representation, the alleged crimes are being placed on the same level as acts of terror, Ynet said, citing a legal source. It is usually practiced by the Shin Bet security service in terror or security-related cases, Ynet reported.

The alleged attackers, arrested near the village, were caught with gloves, weapons, a flammable liquid and spray-paint cans, according to Ynet. The men, from Beit El, Kiryat Arba and Yakir, were linked to other price tag crimes.

Attorney Yehuda Shoshan, who represents one of the suspects, told Ynet, "None of the articles of the law, which was formulated to battle Arab terror against the state, mentions arson. I doubt the legislator ever thought this law would be used against three youngsters who sprayed graffiti as revenge against Arabs."

Police accused the suspects of offenses such as illegal association, vandalizing property, obstructing police, conspiracy to commit a crime and nationalistically motivated arson, according to Israel Hayom.

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