Politics

Jewish extremists suspected of torching mosque near Bethlehem

Protesters hold Palestinian flags as they stand next to Israeli soldiers and border policemen during a protest against Jewish settlements in Jabaa, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem on February 7, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MOSQUE-ARSON, originally transmitted on February 25, 2015.
Protesters hold Palestinian flags as they stand next to Israeli soldiers and border policemen during a protest against Jewish settlements in Jabaa, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem on February 7, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma  *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MOSQUE-ARSON, originally transmitted on February 25, 2015.

Protesters hold Palestinian flags as they stand next to Israeli soldiers and border police during a protest against Jewish settlements in Jabaa, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on Feb. 7, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MOSQUE-ARSON, originally transmitted on Feb. 25, 2015.

JERUSALEM (RNS) A West Bank mosque sustained damage Wednesday (Feb. 25) in what Palestinians say was an arson attack carried out by Jewish nationalists.

Spray-painted Hebrew-language graffiti scrawled on the mosque’s exterior stone walls read “We want the redemption of Zion” and “Revenge” next to a Jewish Star of David.

The mosque, in the village of Jabaa near Bethlehem, was on fire when worshippers arrived at 4:30 a.m. for early-morning prayers. The mosque’s interior walls, furniture and carpets were damaged.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the attack “an official declaration of religious war,” according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency. “The new attack is a sign of the mounting violent extremism within Israeli society,” the ministry said.

The Israel police said the attack is being investigated.

Jewish extremists known as “price tag” activists have attacked mosques, churches, Arab-owned property, Israeli military bases and even a liberal synagogue in an effort to exact a price for any action against the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Wednesday’s attack occurred on the 21st anniversary of the shooting spree by Baruch Goldstein that left 29 Muslim worshippers dead. Goldstein, a Jewish settler, entered a room in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs that was serving as a mosque and opened fire. Survivors of the massacre later beat him to death.

YS/MG END CHABIN

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Michele Chabin

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  • Kooky nonsense! I may disagree with the handing over of Palestine to the Jews in 1948, but it is now an established fact that Israel exists. It has been 67 years!! The Arab world does not need Israel, they simply hate Jews. Why Arabs brood over a strip of land that has no real natural resources is beyond me….it is simply that they hate the Jews and teach each generation since the arrival of that demon Mohammed to hate them also. Get over it, Islam…..use your atrocious oil wealth to aid the world, and leave the 8th Century where it belongs.

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