Settlers suspected in West Bank mosque arson (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 06/19/12)
AFP} Agence France Presse
AFP} Agence France Presse Articles-Index-Top
Unknown attackers set fire to a West Bank mosque and sprayed it with
Hebrew graffiti early on Tuesday, in an incident that bore the
hallmarks of an attack by extremist Jewish settlers.
The incident took place in Jaba village between Jerusalem and the
West Bank town of Ramallah, police said.
"In the middle of the night ... somebody entered the mosque, broke
the window and threw a match causing a fire," local resident Sheikh
Datoun told Israel´s army radio.
"They wrote in Hebrew: ´The war has begun,´ and ´Pay the price´," he
said, indicating that the villagers had seen the fire and rushed to
put it out.
Israel police said they had yet to carry out a forensic investigation
but said there were signs pointing to settler activists.
Police were examining the possibility it was a "price tag incident,"
spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "That´s one of the main directions
that we´ll be looking into," he told AFP.
"Price tag" is a euphemism for revenge hate crimes by Israeli
extremists carried out in protest at Israeli government moves against
They normally target Palestinians and Arabs but have also been
directed at leftwing Israeli activists and the army. Incidents have
included multiple arson attacks on cars and mosques.
The perpetrators are rarely caught, although in recent months the
security forces have increased efforts to clamp down on the
phenomenon after an attack on an army base last year.
Israeli leaders were quick to condemn the latest incident.
"This was the work of intolerant, irresponsible lawbreakers," Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. "We will act quickly
in order to bring them to justice."
Defence Minister Ehud Barak said it was a "grave and criminal
incident meant to harm the fabric of life in the area and divert the
army and security forces from their mission, including protecting
Israeli citizens in the area."
"I have instructed the army and security officials to use all means
to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice," he said in
It was the third such attack since June 6, when MPs voted down a
settler-backed bill aimed at circumventing a court order to demolish
homes in the Ulpana neighbourhood, an outpost built on the outskirts
of Beit El settlement near Ramallah.
Last week, attackers vandalised Palestinian cars in east Jerusalem
slashing tyres and spraying pro-settler Hebrew graffiti on the
vehicles. A week earlier, vandals did the same at a mixed Arab-Jewish
community west of Jerusalem. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse.
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY