Jewish vandals attacked and set fire to Al-Latrun Monastery in Jerusalem in the early hours of Tuesday morning, writing anti-Christian graffiti on its walls. Muslims and Christians have denounced the incident.
The main gate of the Monastery was completely burnt and the vandals sprayed obscenities about Jesus, Christians and Christianity on the walls. A monastery guard commented: "Whoever did this has no God."
The name of the Migron settlement in Ramallah was also scrawled on the monastery walls. It was evacuated following the issue of a legal warrant at the end of last week. The slogan "Price Tag", which has been written on vandalised mosque walls, was also painted at the monastery.
Several Israeli media outlets reported extreme right-wing activist Barokh Barzel as saying: "I said that evicting Jews from Migron would spark a fire by people who felt bitter about it. I hope that the government and police will not do such provocative acts in the future."
The Palestinian Islamic-Christian Committee, which described the perpetrators of the monastery attack as "extremists", denounced the incident. "The continuous desecration of Islamic and Christian sites in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem, hints at an extremist and racist Israeli plan aiming for a religious war," the Committee said. "All places of worship, be they Islamic, Christian or Jewish, must be respected. The Israeli government and Jewish Rabbis hold complete responsibility for today's criminal acts."
The Committee pointed out that some Rabbis have made inflammatory statements calling for the killing of Arabs in Palestine which, it claims, incites people to commit such attacks. It called for the World Council of Churches, the Pope, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and all related institutions to protect all holy places in Palestine.
Meanwhile, Israeli police said that they had arrested a Jew who desecrated a Christian cemetery and destroyed several headstones in the occupied Negev, last night. A number of attacks on Christian sites have taken place this year, the most prominent of which was vandalism at the Church of the Cross in Jerusalem in February.