Chaim Levinson
September 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli settlers in the West Bank vandalized an Israel Defense Forces base on Wednesday, carrying out a "price tag" operation against the army for the first time since adopting the policy in recent years.

Unknown perpetrators infiltrated a base in the Binyamin region and snuck their way to a mechanics workshop on site, where they slashed the tires and cut the cables of 12 army vehicles.

The vandals sprayed the word "price tag" on the walls, as well as other graffiti referring to the three illegal homes demolished by the IDF in the outpost of Migron on Monday.

IDF officials called the incident on Wednesday grave and unprecedented, as it marks the first time settlers had carried out a planned act of vandalism against army equipment.

The Yesha Council, which represents West Bank settlers, strongly condemned the act and called on the perpetrators to turn themselves in.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the act "criminal" and said that the perpetrators would be caught soon.

"Acts of vandalism against Israelis and Palestinians are intended to disrupt routine life [in the West Bank] and to cause an escalation during this sensitive period," Barak said.

Opposition leader and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni said that the act crossed a "dangerous red line" and called on all Israeli leaders to condemn it.

Extremists adopted their "price tag" policy to demonstrate discontent with the government's decision to freeze construction in West Bank settlements, but have directed their operations thus far at Palestinians.

Nonetheless, clashes between Israeli security forces and settlers have become common occurrences during outpost demolitions.

The most recent "price tag" incident took place on Monday, when a mosque in the West Bank village of Qusra, south of Nablus, was torched just hours after the demolition of the homes in Migron.

According to Palestinian sources, a group of settlers arrived at the village mosque at approximately 3 A.M., threw burning tires toward at the building and broke several of its windows.


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