The President of Israel has warned that a response can be expected from Arabs and Muslims following arson attacks on mosques by extremist Jewish settlers. Shimon Peres was speaking after two mosques were set on fire in Jerusalem and Ramallah. A reaction from the countries with popular revolutions is of particular concern to the veteran Israeli politician.
In a meeting with a number of rabbis and the heads of pre-military academies in Jewish settlements on Thursday, Peres said: "The burning of mosques may lead to demonstrations in Arab and Islamic countries against Israel." He claimed that this will damage Israel's reputation as it "has always been known for protecting the holy places" [sic].
His visit took place after Jewish settlers set fire to Al-Nour Mosque in Bargah, a village to the west of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on Thursday morning. The building suffered serious damage. A day earlier, settlers attacked Aukasha Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
Arson and other attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians and their property have been increasing recently. They are part of what they label "pay back" for the Israeli government's demolition of settler "outposts" which are regarded as illegal even under Israeli law.