West Bank Mosque Is Set Ablaze and Vandalized

June 19, 2012 New York Times
A West Bank mosque was burned and vandalized early on Tuesday, with graffiti warning in Hebrew of a “war” over the impending evacuation of the small, disputed Jewish settlement of Ulpana.

Police officials said it was the fourth attack on a mosque in the last 18 months and part of a recent uptick in so-called price tag episodes by radical settlers.

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, said that several suspects entered Jabaa Jab’a, a Palestinian village of 4,200 about five miles from both Jerusalem and Ramallah, early on Tuesday, then broke a large window in the mosque and set a fire that burned several yards of a carpet and wall. Outside the building, the slogan “Ulpana war” was written on the right side of the window, and “price tag” on the left, suggesting the attack was in exchange for the coming evacuation.

Residents in Jabaa Jab’a said they saw light inside the empty and locked mosque around 1:30 a.m. and broke through the gate to put out the fire. Mr. Rosenfeld said the police arrived at 6 a.m.

Dan Halutz, a former chief of staff of the Israeli Army, said that the authorities did not do enough to crack down on “price tag” vandalism, which he called “counterterrorism.”

“If we wanted, we could catch them and when we want to, we will,” Mr. Halutz said on Army Radio. [And yet they have not, so apparently Israel doesn’t really want to curb this Jewish terrorism. -ed]

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