Jewish settlers have desecrated a mosque in the flashpoint West Bank town of Nablus and set afire two vehicles outside the Muslim worship house.
Unknown vandals forcibly entered the Bilal Ben-Rabah Mosque in the village of Hawara overnight Wednesday and sprayed graffiti, including a Jewish Star of David alongside the name of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) written in Hebrew on the mosque walls.
The Palestinians say residents of the nearby Yitzhar settlement ascended upon the village at 2 am local time (2300 GMT) and committed the offenses.
Local council chairman Samer Uda said a complaint had been filed with Israeli authorities. "We call on human rights groups and Israeli authorities to do everything possible in order to put an end to the repeated harassments by settlers," he said. "A few weeks ago they set a truck on fire."
The Israeli military commander for the West Bank, Brigadier General Nitzan Alon, called for a probe into the sacrilegious act and “promised” to punish anyone found guilty.
The incident is the latest in a spate of anti-Muslim violence in the area, which has also seen the eviction of Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
In December, extremist settlers vandalized a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf just before dawn. The vandals burned prayer mats and a book stand with sacrosanct, Islamic texts and sprayed slogans on the mosque walls reading, ‘Get ready to pay the price.’ Another was accompanied by the more direct threat, ‘We will burn all of you.’
Hard-line Jewish settlers have said they will attack Palestinians in retaliation for any measures by the Tel Aviv regime that they deem threatening to Jewish settlements. It is part of what they describe as the “price tag” policy.
All Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (al-Quds), are illegal under international law, though Tel Aviv denies this.