Jerusalem Church Building Torched in Apparent Hate Crime

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Suspected Jewish extremists set fire to a Greek Orthodox seminary building in Jerusalem early Thursday, police said, 24 hours after a mosque was torched in the West Bank.

The vandals torched an annexe of the seminary near the walls of the Old City and scrawled "graffiti insulting Jesus", police spokeswoman Luba Samri said, describing it as a "nationalist" attack.

Police said the assailants set fire to the toilet and shower block at the seminary, causing damage but no injuries.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned the attack.

"It is inconceivable that an act like this could happen in a house of prayer. This is a heinous crime, there must be an investigation and those responsible must be brought to justice," his office quoted him as saying in a phone call to Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III.

"Such criminals not only threaten to set fire to places of worship holy to all of us, but ignite the regional powder keg upon which we all sit," he added.

Israel's foreign ministry said it expected the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"We condemn any action of religious intolerance of any kind," it said in a statement.

"The government of Israel is committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of all its citizens, regardless of race, creed, or beliefs."

The attack took place just outside the Old City walls on Mount Zion, close to Dormition Abbey, a Roman Catholic institution which was targeted by an arson attack during a visit by Pope Francis last May.

Following a police request, a gag order has been imposed on all details of the investigation which will remain in force until March 4.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the attack as "deplorable" and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.

On Wednesday, a mosque near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank was set alight and anti-Arab slogans in Hebrew sprayed on a nearby wall.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat denounced the perpetrators of both incidents as "terrorists", blaming Israel's government for inciting the attacks by continuing its "illegal occupation and colonization based on distorted religious claims."

The United Nations has warned such incidents could "inflame an already volatile environment."

Both incidents bore the hallmarks of so-called "price tag" attacks -- a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists, which generally target Palestinians or Arab Israelis but have increasingly also hit Christian and Muslim places of worship.

Comments 9
Thumb _mowaten_ 26 February 2015, 18:14

"Suspected Jewish extremists" <=> daeshites
same thing, different names:

Missing phillipo 26 February 2015, 20:19

Show us one historic site that has been destroyed by Israel in an action anyway similar to what ISIS did today in Mosul.
It was the Moslems in 1948 in the old city of Jerusalem that destroyed historic synagogues.

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 February 2015, 10:56

You can't be for real pipo! israel has been destroying the whole of Palestine, entire villages and towns at a time. Just at its creation hundreds of villages were ethnically cleansed and entirely destroyed with everything in them, be it mosques, heritage houses and landmarks.

And since then, israeli bombs have destroyed hundreds of times more than that bunch of retards with sledgehammers could ever.

You israelis like to remain in a state of denial to avoid facing your crimes, and point at other people's crimes thinking it will exonerate you, but dont think anyone else is fooled or has forgotten.

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 February 2015, 11:05

and the destruction of historical sites by israel never stopped, or only to be replaced by plain theft.

"Wadi Gaza, with its wetlands, fertile soil, and potable water, for example, is thought to be home to an ancient Canaanite city in the early Bronze Period dating back to 3200 BC.
The site, known as Tal al-Sakan, was discovered in 1999 when three buildings were being erected in the area. The buildings were destroyed by Israeli occupation troops early last month."

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 February 2015, 11:07

"Meanwhile, the ancient site has continued to deteriorate under the rumbling of Israel tanks and bulldozers. According to Sadaq, several layers of the ancient city have come loose because of nearby Israeli invasions, ranging from shelling to house demolitions."

"And Israel's apartheid wall, which is literally tearing the West Bank apart, has had a devastating effect on Palestinian archaeological sites.
Ancient ruins in cities like Tulkaram have been destroyed, damaged, or annexed altogether by Israel as the concrete barrier made its way through the area."

"Such incidents have prompted the World Archaeological Congress to adopt a strongly worded resolution condemning the Israeli practice of destroying Palestinian archaeological sites."

Missing phillipo 26 February 2015, 20:16

Once more, AFP lies, a "Seminary building" is not a "church". But why bother with the truth when it put the Jews in a bad light.
Just like the story a few days ago of the Israelis opening dam gates in order to flood Gaza, unfortunately for AFP it has been proved by the responsible international news agencies that there are no dams in the area.

Missing phillipo 27 February 2015, 08:44

Giving my comment a thumbs down just goes to prove that there are people besides AFP who will not believe the truth even when it is shoved in their faces. Shame on them.

Thumb _mowaten_ 27 February 2015, 11:00

hahahah thanks for your hasbara version of the "truth", but guess what? we don't give a damn. "Seminary building" or "church" or whatever you want to fixate on does not change the fact that it was a HATE crime, and you israelis are hateful disgusting people who are deluded thinking they are better than everybody just because they're born jews. they're not, you're not, and you actually suck very bad.

Missing helicopter 27 February 2015, 04:53

Following a police request, a gag order has been imposed on all details of the investigation which will remain in force until March 4.....
I wonder why the gag order? Maybe they need time to weave their own story.
Extremism is resent in ISraerl no doubt. Within Sunnis it takes the form of Takfiris/ISIS, within Shiism it takes the form of HA/Welayat Elfaqih, and within the Jews it takes the form of Hagana and the ultra-Orthodox Zionists.