JERUSALEM, February 26, 2015 (WAFA) – Suspected Jewish settlers torched early Thursday a monastery in Jerusalem and sprayed anti-Christian graffiti in Hebrew on its walls, said WAFA correspondent.
Settlers torched a room of the Greek Orthodox Church monastery of Sion, which houses the patriarchal seminary, and sprayed graffiti offending to Jesus Christ on the walls.
Fires were set to the school room and a toilet facility used by priests and seminarians inside the monastery building, causing extensive material damage. No casualties were reported in the attack.
This is not the first time Christian religious sites were targeted by Jewish settlers.
In April 2014, settlers Jewish settlers sprayed anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of Deir Rafat Catholic convent in West Jerusalem and slashed the tires of vehicles parked nearby.
They scrawled slogans reading “Mary is a cow”, “price tag’ in Hebrew.
During 2012, settlers set fire to the door of a Catholic monastery in Latrun and scrawled “Jesus is monkey” on a nearby wall.
“Price tag” attacks are carried by Israeli settlers mostly against Palestinians, Christians and Muslims alike, and occasionally against the Israeli forces installations.
The attacks involve the vandalism, destruction and targeting of Palestinian property, including mosques, churches and houses, vehicles and olive orchards across the occupied West Bank.
The attacks started in retaliation to Israeli government moves to dismantle ‘unauthorized’ settlement outposts and perpetrators are rarely caught.
There is nothing such as ‘authorized’ and ‘unauthorized’ settlements in the West Bank. All settlements are in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which establishes that the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other settlement-related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.
Saeb Erekat condemned the attack on the Christian seminary as well as the torching of a mosque in Bethlehem. “During the last 48 hours, a Mosque near Bethlehem and a Christian seminary in Occupied East Jerusalem were set on fire by Israeli terrorists.”
Erekat said, “These terrorists have been incited for and protected by a government that claims exclusivity over this land and that justifies its illegal occupation and colonization based on distorted religious claims.
He described the attacks as “a direct consequence of the calls for recognition of Israel as a ‘Jewish State’ and Jerusalem as the ‘eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people.’
Erekat held the Israeli government accountable for the attacks which proved not to be the first of their kind committed by settlers against vulnerable and peaceful residents.
The attacks aim at terrorizing Palestinians in order to empty the land, he said. “We will not tolerate any attacks on our Christian and Muslim religious holy sites, including any graffiti attacking Jesus or Prophet Mohammad.”
Once again, Erekat called upon the international community to hold Israel accountable for its attacks against Palestinians and end the selective treatment of Israel as a state above the law.