October 4, 2012

Palestinians condemn Jerusalem monastery vandalism by Jewish settlers


A handout picture released by the Franciscan monastery on October 2, 2012, shows anti-Christian graffiti denigrating Jesus, the central figure in Christianity, and adding the words “price tag” — a euphemism for revenge hate crimes by Israeli extremists, sprayed in Hebrew on the front entrance to Franciscan monastery just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, the church and Israeli police said in an apparent “price-tag” hate crime.
A Trappist monk walks between graffiti reading in Hebrew, “Jesus monkey” (L) and “mutual guarantee, Ramat Migron and Maoz Ester” (West Bank settlements), which was sprayed on the wall of the Christian Catholic Latrun monastery between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on September 4, 2012, after Jewish settlers set the monastery's door ablaze and vandalized its wall. 
A monk stands next to graffiti sprayed on the wall of the Latrun Monastery's entrance near Jerusalem September 4, 2012.
Anti-Christian graffiti is sprayed on the entrance to a Franciscan monastery just outside Jerusalem's Old City.
A catholic priest looks at anti-Christian graffiti written in Hebrew at the Latrun Trappist Monastery where Israeli police say vandals overnight have spray-painted anti-Christian and pro-settler graffiti and set the monastery's door on fire, in Latrun, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Sept 4, 2012. Suspicion fell on Jewish settlers and their supporters who retaliate against anti-settlement measures, generally by attacking Palestinian property, but also by vandalizing Christian sites and Israeli military facilities. Earlier this week, the government ordered settlers out of two unauthorized enclaves in the West Bank. Some of the graffiti referred to unauthorized settler outposts and one read, "Jesus is a monkey." (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
A catholic monk stands in a doorway of the Latrun Trappist Monastery where Israeli police say vandals overnight have spray-painted anti-Christian and pro-settler graffiti and set the monastery's door on fire, in Latrun, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Sept 4, 2012. Suspicion fell on Jewish settlers and their supporters who retaliate against anti-settlement measures, generally by attacking Palestinian property, but also by vandalizing Christian sites and Israeli military facilities. Earlier this week, the government ordered settlers out of two unauthorized enclaves in the West Bank. Some of the graffiti referred to unauthorized settler outposts and one read, "Jesus is a monkey." (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
A catholic priest stands at a door to the Latrun Trappist Monastery where Israeli police say vandals overnight have spray-painted anti-Christian and pro-settler graffiti and set the monastery's door on fire, in Latrun, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Sept 4, 2012. Suspicion fell on Jewish settlers and their supporters who retaliate against anti-settlement measures, generally by attacking Palestinian property, but also by vandalizing Christian sites and Israeli military facilities. Earlier this week, the government ordered settlers out of two unauthorized enclaves in the West Bank. The Hebrew graffiti reads, "Jesus is a monkey." (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
A catholic priest walks in the grounds of the Latrun Trappist Monastery where Israeli police say vandals overnight have spray-painted anti-Christian and pro-settler graffiti and set the monastery's door on fire, in Latrun, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Sept 4, 2012. Suspicion fell on Jewish settlers and their supporters who retaliate against anti-settlement measures, generally by attacking Palestinian property, but also by vandalizing Christian sites and Israeli military facilities. Earlier this week, the government ordered settlers out of two unauthorized enclaves in the West Bank. Some of the graffiti referred to unauthorized settler outposts and one read, "Jesus is a monkey." (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

The PLO's top negotiator and the Palestinian Authority strongly condemned racist and pro-settler vandalism on a Jerusalem monastery.

"Price-tag" and "Jesus is a son of a bitch" were sprayed on the gate of the Monastery of Saint Francis, just outside of the Old City, Israeli police and media reported Tuesday.

"After 45 years of Israeli occupation, a culture of hatred and racism has become mainstream among Israelis," PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

Erekat called on the international community to "assume its duties and hold Israel accountable for its ongoing occupation and violations of international law."

He added: "This culture of impunity that some countries have granted to Israel has allowed settlers to escalate their racist attacks against Palestinians without any legal accountability."

The Palestinian Authority cabinet also strongly condemned the attack.

A statement from the cabinet in Ramallah said the PA strongly condemned the "settler attack against Mount Zion Convent where racist anti-Christ graffiti were spray painted on its walls."

The cabinet said the Israeli government was "fully responsible for the consequences" of the vandalism as well as a "raid" on the al-Aqsa Mosque in which Palestinians were attacked.

The cabinet blasted the settler attack at a weekly meeting.

In early September, Jewish extremists torched the wooden door of a Jerusalem monastery and sprayed "Jesus is a monkey" and pro-settler graffiti on the walls.

In February, 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.

The term "price tag" is used by Jewish settlers to describe a policy to attack Palestinians and their property in retaliation for perceived anti-settler actions by the Israeli government.

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