Jerusalem monastery torched, racist graffiti sprayed on walls
Published Tuesday 04/09/2012 (updated) 05/09/2012 19:37
A worker sweeps in front of a torched door next to graffiti sprayed on
a wall at the Latrun Monastery near Jerusalem September 4, 2012.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Vandals torched the wooden door of a monastery near Jerusalem on Tuesday and pro-settler graffiti daubed in Hebrew was discovered on the building's stone walls, Israeli police said.
"Police have opened a special investigation into the incident," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said of the arson that occurred at the Latrun Monastery.
Rosenfeld said the name of an unauthorized settler outpost evacuated this week, called "Migron" and the words "Jesus is a monkey" were also scrawled at the holy site located inside Israel but not far from the occupied West Bank.
PLO official Ahmed Qurei slammed the attack, while Palestinian official Saeb Erekat issued a statement accusing the Israeli government of not doing enough to prosecute the attackers.
Palestinian Christian academic Bernard Sabella told Reuters the attack, and others like it, had been carried out by "groups of extremist Jews who do not want Muslims or Christian to remain in this country".
In August, PA official Ghassan Daghlas warned Palestinians to be cautious of settler attacks ahead of the planned evacuation of illegal Israeli outpost Migron, near Ramallah.
The evacuation of the illegal Ulpana outpost in June led to a spate of "price tag" attacks on mosques, Palestinians and their property.
Israeli security officials had also expressed concern about possible acts of retribution by a suspected settler vigilante group known as "Price Tag," for Sunday's court-ordered eviction of 50 families from the illegal outpost.
In February, suspected Jewish extremists wrote "Death to Christianity" on two Jerusalem churches. The graffiti also included profanity about Jesus, and the vandals slashed the tires of several cars parked in one of the church compounds.
"Price Tag" attacks have targeted mosques, Palestinian homes and Israeli military installations in the occupied West Bank.
An ancient mosque in Jerusalem was torched on Dec. 13, and sprayed with the Star of David, "price tag," "Muhammad is a pig" and "A good Arab is a dead Arab" in Hebrew.
Ma'an staff contributed to this report