Israel condemns West Bank mosque attack

AFP , Tuesday 6 Sep 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu condemns Monday's attacks on a mosque in West Bank, and "believes that such extremist acts are intended to harm the delicate fabric of relations between religions and cultures in Israel"

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A Palestinian man looks at Hebrew writing on the wall of a mosque in the West Bank village of Qusra, near Nablus September 5, 2011 (Reuters)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned an arson attack against a West Bank mosque a day earlier, which came after Israeli police dismantled three homes in a Jewish settlement.

"Netanyahu condemns the torching of the mosque near Nablus that followed the demolition of the houses in Migron," said a statement issued by his office.

"The prime minister believes that such extremist acts are intended to harm the delicate fabric of relations between religions and cultures in Israel, which he acts to maintain," it added.

Netanyahu's office said he had ordered law enforcement authorities to arrest and prosecute those behind the attack in the West Bank village of Qusra.

The mosque in Qusra, some 15 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of Nablus, was damaged when two tires were set alight on the ground floor of the building, which was being used as a storage area, residents said, blaming Jewish settlers.

An AFP correspondent said Hebrew graffiti on the outside walls included insults against the Prophet Mohammed, a Star of David, and "Migron" -- the name of the settlement outpost near Ramallah, which was partially dismantled by police overnight on Monday.

The attack was very similar to another arson attack on a mosque in a nearby village which took place in early June, just days after police had demolished an outpost called Alei Ayin, sparking fierce clashes with settlers.

Monday's attack came after hundreds of police and soldiers entered Migron and dismantled three structures in accordance with a defence ministry order backed by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Hardline settlers have adopted what they call a "price tag" policy under which they attack Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government measures against settlements.

Israel considers settlement outposts built in the West Bank without government approval to be illegal, and often sends security personnel to demolish them. They usually consist of little more than a few trailers.

The international community considers all settlements built in the occupied West Bank, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem, to be illegal.

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