Settlers Vandalize Christian and Muslim Holy Sites
Tuesday April 29, 2014 20:40 by Chris Carlson - 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group
Illegal structures raised in Bethlehem and Tulkarm
Groups of Jewish Israeli settlers vandalized, on Tuesday, a church in the Galilee region and a mosque in the Haifa district. Also on Tuesday, settlers built illegal structures on Palestinian lands in both Tulkarm and Bethlehem.
Tabgha church is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Tiberias, in the Galilee, where settlers smashed the cross and vandalized the church pews.
On Monday night, a written threat was given to the housemaid of Catholic bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, by a militant from Safed, stating that they have until May 5th to evacuate the so-called ‘land of Israel’, or pay dearly in lives.
Arab members of Knesset denounced the attack and hold Israel fully responsible, WAFA reports:
Mohammad Barakeh stated “Threatening the Latin Bishop of Nazareth demonstrates the historical fact that all Arabs, Christians and Muslims alike, are targeted. Our battle has never been sectarian or religious but national.”
Talab Abu ‘Arar stated that such attacks are “acts of terrorism that are perpetrated against the Palestinian people in general and are motivated by the Israeli ministers’ incitement against the Arabs.”
Furthermore, Massʻoud Ghanayem called for organizing district demonstrations in either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, in protest of the Israeli government’s inaction in deterring attackers.
At daw, in Fureidis village of the 1948 occupied lands, Israeli settlers from the Price Tag gang spray-painted racist slogans against Arabs and Muslims on the walls of Al-Rahman Mosque.
The graffiti called for turning mosques into holy places for Jews. Also found painted was the six-pointed Magen David star.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, "The tires of several cars parked nearby were slashed," adding that "crimes committed for nationalist motives are extremely serious."
Israeli police claim they initiated an investigation, saying that they would work towards arresting the vandals and bringing them to justice.
Fureidis is a Palestinian village located at the foot of Mount Carmel in Haifa district. It is one of the few Arab villages on the Israeli coast which remains intact after the 1948 war.
Less than two weeks ago, suspected Jewish vandals set fire to a mosque and tagged walls with racist graffiti in Umm al-Fahm.
A week earlier, vandals sprayed anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of a convent, just west of Jerusalem, where they also damaged vehicles in the area. "Mary is a cow," "price tag," and "America (is) Nazi Germany" were found sprayed in Hebrew on the walls of the sanctuary.
Vandals slashed the tires of more than 40 cars in East Jerusalem, in March, spraying: "Gentiles in the land are enemies."
The perpetrators of violence against Palestinian communities are rarely prosecuted, according to Ma'an. There are hundreds of racist attacks against Palestinians in Israel and the occupied West Bank every single year.
In related news, Israeli settlers began the construction of a shed, on Tuesday, on Palestinian land to the south of Bethlehem, as a prelude to a new land grab, according to Hassan Burejeyah, coordinator of the anti-settlement committee in Bethlehem.
He said that settlers from the illegal settlement of Avrat, under army protection, stormed a private-owned ranch in Khallat An-Nahlah, near Bethlehem, and began constructing a small room out of wood and tin.
The owner of the ranch, one 55-year-old Mohammad Ayesh, tried to prevent the settlers from invading hos propery, but soldiers took his identity card and kept him there for hours, said Burejeyah.
He said that the escalated attacks by settlers against Ayesh's land continues for the third day in a row, now, with the aim of expanding the nearby settlement.
Also on Tuesday, settlers from Avnei Hefets and Einav erected a tent at the entrance of Jubarah village, to the south of Tulkarm, where they raised the Israeli flag over the structure, witnesses reported.