Palestinian and Israeli leaders condemn mosque attack

June 7, 2011

Jerusalem, June 7 (ENInews)--Israeli and Palestinian politicians condemned
an arson attack on a West Bank mosque on 7 June, but Palestinians also
accused Israel of "turning a blind eye" to the attacks, which they suspected
were carried out by Jewish settlers.

According to reports, the fire began in the mosque of the West Bank
village of al-Mughayyir northeast of Ramallah, in the early hours of the morning
and was discovered by Palestinian worshippers who had come for morning
prayers. Reports said a burning tire was found inside which had burned the
carpet. 

Press reports noted that Hebrew graffiti was found on the mosque wall
reading "Price Tag -- Eley Ain" which seemed to imply that the attack was in
reprisal for the recent removal of some structures in the nearby Israeli
settlement of Eley Ain.

"Israeli authorities cannot continue to turn a blind eye, which gives
settlers impunity to continue their attacks," the Palestinian government said.
"The international community needs to condemn this outrage and insist that
Israel is held accountable." 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack a "criminal
act intended as a provocation," adding that "Israel has pioneered respect of
freedom of worship and will work decisively against all who harm this
principle. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he had instructed the
military to "use all means to apprehend the perpetrators." 

The issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is a highly charged
subject in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and negotiation talks have fallen
apart because of disagreements. Though supportive of the settlers,
Netanyahu's government has also dismantled structures in illegal new outposts. An
Israeli police spokesman told journalists the police had launched an
investigation at the site in the village.

According to the Palestinian government spokesman, this was the fifth
mosque arson to take place since 2009. "If Israel once again makes no serious
efforts to prosecute settlers, the conclusion will be clear that they are
above the law, granted impunity by their own state," they said.