Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

'Price tag' vandalism on West Bank mosque

A West Bank mosque is vandalised in what Israeli police linked to a campaign of violence by ultranationalist Jews who target both Palestinians and Israelis.

JERUSALEM // A West Bank mosque was vandalised yesterday in what Israeli police linked to a campaign of violence by ultranationalist Jews who target both Palestinians and Israelis.

Palestinian villagers in Dir Istiyya awoke to find the words "price tag" and "Gal Arye Yossef" tagged on their local mosque and three cars burnt out, said Mickey Rosenfeld, a police spokesman.

The graffiti indicated the incident was a so-called price-tag attack, which are carried out in revenge for Israeli demolitions of unauthorised settler outposts in the West Bank.

Such attacks have been carried out in the past few years by Jewish extremists against Palestinian communities and, more recently, Israel's military. Gal Arye Yossef is the name of an outpost demolished by the military on Sunday.

Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak, said the attack was "designed to damage the fragile relationship between Israelis and Palestinians in" the West Bank.

Last Wednesday, two vehicles were set on fire in what police described as "price tag" attacks in a Palestinian car wash in the east Jerusalem village of Sharafat.

Price-tag violence has alarmed Israelis because one of the country's most revered institutions, the military, has increasingly become a target. There were approximately 228 attacks by Israelis against the military in the West Bank last year, police officials have estimated.

Fourteen Israelis had been arrested for taking part in "nationalistic" attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem since the summer, Mr Rosenfeld said. Four had been charged.

The increase in attacks has coincided with a surge in approvals of new settlement structures in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of their hoped-for state.

Last year, Israel's government approved the largest number of such structures in the contested city - 3,690 - in over a decade, dwarfing the closest year-end total of 2,653 in 2002, according to a report released by Israel's Peace Now organisation.

Construction on settlements in the West Bank rose by 20 per cent last year, which the non-governmental organisation's report, called "Torpedoing the Two-State Solution", warned was diminishing the viability of a separate Palestinian state.

"The Netanyahu government is promoting several plans precisely in disputed areas which could prevent the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel," said the report, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his right-wing, pro-settler coalition.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr Netanyahu, yesterday did not dispute the report's findings but argued in a statement that "we have shown more restraint on the issue of settlement than any previous Israeli government".

Settlements are considered illegal under international law.

Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barkat, added to the dispute this month when he proposed transferring Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem that fall on the far side of the separation barrier to the authority of the Civil Administration, an Israeli-military body governing Palestinians in large parts of the West Bank.

The move would likely result in thousands of Palestinians losing their Jerusalem identity cards and, as a result, their ability to access the city.

hnaylor@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse


Follow The National on @TheNationalUAE & Hugh Naylor on @HughNaylor


Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National