Tags: Israel | settlers | vandals | mosque

Israeli Settlers Vandalize West Bank Mosque

Friday, 11 Dec 2009 10:12 AM

JERUSALEM - Radical settlers vandalized and set fire to a mosque in a Palestinian village in the West Bank, Palestinian officials claimed Friday. Defense officials confirmed that assailants had vandalized the mosque, and the Civil Administration has launched an investigation.

The attack took place in the village of Yasuf, south of Nablus. The assailants entered the village before dawn Friday, according to police and Munir Abushi, the Palestinian governor of the district where the village is located.

According to reports, the perpetrators set fire to a carpet and to a library in the mosque's second floor, destroying holy books. They also sprayed abusive statements in Hebrew on the walls and floor. Graffiti messages included "Price tag - greetings from Efi" and "We will burn all of you."

Hundreds of Palestinians later confronted security forces in the area of the village. Some rioters hurled rocks at the troops. One border policeman was lightly wounded by one such rock. The forces used non-lethal weapons to disperse the rioters. Palestinians said two villagers were hurt in the skirmish.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the act a "despicable crime," characterized settler behavior as "brutal" and demanded that Israel put a stop to their "wild antics."

Settler extremists have recently attacked Palestinians and their property in response to the government's decision to freeze settlement construction. They have dubbed the attacks the "price tag" policy.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak condemned the attack. In a statement issued by his office, Barak said he viewed the attack with grave severity and called it "an act of extremism designed to hurt any attempt by the government to make progress" toward renewing peace talks with the Palestinians. Barak said he had instructed the defense establishment to find those responsible as quickly as possible.

Following the incident, Civil Administration head Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai spoke with Abushi, who expressed his dismay over repeated settler attacks. Israeli security forces have done little to protect Palestinian civilians from the settlers, he said.

A flurry of responses from politicians and activists soon followed.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List - Ta'al) said after the attack that "Barak and the army bear responsibility for this crime and for the continued riot wild behavior of settlers against Palestinians."

Labor MK Ophir Paz-Pines called the attack "a dangerous escalation intended to devolve the region into bloodshed." The lack of government preparedness against the "price tag" strategy which has been in use for years is a serious and dangerous failure, he added.

"The fire in the Yasuf mosque may have gone out," MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) said in a statement, "but the blaze could yet get out of control, spread and lead to disastrous consequences."

Peace Now called the incident "a Jewish pogrom" and warned that continued provocation by extremists could lead to a new Palestinian intifada.

Danny Dayan, head of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip said in response to the incident that he hoped police would find those responsible. "Whoever did this is not helping the settlements," Dayan said. "This is a wrong and foolish act."

Meanwhile, far-right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir laid the blame on Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying their decision to stop construction in the West Bank was causing anger and unrest. "Netanyahu must freeze these racist edicts to calm the atmosphere," he said.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
1Like our page
2Share
MiddleEast
JERUSALEM - Radical settlers vandalized and set fire to a mosque in a Palestinian village in the West Bank, Palestinian officials claimed Friday. Defense officials confirmed that assailants had vandalized the mosque, and the Civil Administration has launched an investigation.
Israel,settlers,vandals,mosque
558
2009-12-11
Friday, 11 Dec 2009 10:12 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved