Citizens International

West Bank Mosque Hit With Attempted Arson in Possible Hate Crime

None hurt in attempt to set mosque near Nablus in West Bank on fire ■ ‘Death’ and ‘Price tag’ daubed on external walls

Unknown vandals attempted to set a West Bank mosque on fire overnight Thursday, in a possible hate crime against Palestinians.

The incident took place in the village of Aqraba, north of Nablus, and saw the words “Death” and “Price tag” daubed on the mosque’s external walls. No one was hurt in the incident.

Referred to in Israel as “price-tag attacks”, the attacks are wanton reprisals undertaken by extremist Jews in response to Palestinian violence against Israelis or government curbs on unauthorized West Bank settlement building. Two such possible cases were reported at the beginning of this month.

The damage to the mosque was limited and locals said that because it did not have a large carpet as is sometimes customary the entire structure did not catch fire.

The village of Aqraba is a relatively small community, with a few hundred residents, mostly farmers. None reported any damage to their property or lands ahead of the incident – which seems restricted to the mosque.

In a security camera recording of the incident, two vandals wearing hoodies can be seen starting the fire and fleeing the scene.

Residents told Haaretz that this is not the first time this mosque has been targeted, and they claimed another attempt to set it on fire took place five years ago. They also claim they suspect that settlers from the nearby Kochav Hashahar settlement are behind the attack, in revenge for a terror attack conducted by a resident of the Palestinian village in which one of the settlement’s residents was killed.

Zachariah Sade, an investigator for Rabbis for Human Rights, arrived at the scene early in the morning and alerted Israeli authorities. As of Friday morning, no Israeli forces have arrived at the scene. The incident took place at roughly 2 AM.

On April 5, several vehicles in a Palestinian-majority East Jerusalem neighborhood were vandalized on Wednesday night, Israeli police said. The incident is similar to one that took place a day earlier in the West Bank that Palestinian villagers blamed on Israeli settlers.

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