Overigens komt het geregeld voor dat Palestijnen Joodse heilige plaatsen op de Westoever bekladden en heilige boeken en symbolen vernielen, maar dat haalt nooit het journaal.
The Jerusalem Post
Dec 11, 2009 10:58 | Updated Dec 11, 2009 21:01
Palestinian demonstration dies down near Yasuf, Tapuah
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND AP
Hundreds of Palestinian protesters from the village of Yasuf gathered near the nearby settlement of Tapuah on Friday afternoon to protest vandalism caused to a local mosque, only returning to their village hours later.
The demonstrators confronted security forces in the area, with some rioters hurling rocks at the troops. One border policeman was lightly wounded by one such rock. The forces used non-lethal weapons to disperse the rioters. Six protesters were hurt in the skirmish, apparently from tear gas.
According to Channel 2, the protests only died down after Civilian Administration head Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordehai personally assured the head of the Salfit governorate and other Palestinian Authority leaders that security forces were doing all they could to apprehend those responsible.
Earlier on Friday, Palestinian officials claimed that radical settlers vandalized and set fire to a mosque in a Palestinian village in the West Bank. 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 Effi" and "We will burn the lot of you."
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."
Kadima and opposition leader Tzipi Livni echoed Abbas's statement by saying that the vandalism was a "severe, despicable act of provocation" and stressing that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
"While a human rights march goes on in Tel Aviv, in Samaria extremist elements set fire to a mosque," she said during a Herzliya speech on Friday afternoon. "We must turn to introspection and contend with what is happening within Israeli society."
Settler extremists recently began to carry out attacks against Palestinians and their property in response to the government's decision to impose a ten-month moratorium on 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.
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) also stayed shy of condemning the attacks, saying that "those who wish to wipe out the Jewish people must not expect us to identify with their symbols and centers of incitement" - an apparent reference to mosques and Islamic prayer relic