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53 attacks on mosques and churches in Israel produce seven convictions

St. Stephen Church in occupied Jerusalem was vandalised on 21 September 2017 [Richard Hardigan‏/Twitter]

More than 50 Christian and Muslim sites in Israel and the occupied West Bank have been attacked over the last eight years, but authorities have only filed nine indictments.

According to official data reported by Haaretz, 53 mosques and churches have been vandalised since 2009 (the data goes up to July 2017). Yet only nine indictments have been filed, and only seven convictions handed down. 45 of the cases have been closed, with just eight still under investigation.

The statistics from Israel’s Public Security Ministry shows that 11 investigations were opened in 2013, and five people convicted. 22 Christian and Muslim sites were vandalised in the period 2014-2016, while four such attacks were recorded in just the first half of 2017.

From 2009 through 2012, there were 17 such incidents without a single indictment.

Read: Church leaders condemn Israel for ‘systematically’ undermining Christianity

Many arson attacks on mosques have never been solved, including in West Bank villages such as Kafr Yasif, Luban al-Sharqiya, Beit Fajjar, Hawara and Qusra.

Experts cited by the paper say they only know of two cases that were solved: “an arson attack on a Christian seminary near the Abbey of the Dormition, Jerusalem; and an arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha”.

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