Mosque Torched by Zionist Colonists
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A mosque in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank was partly set on fire on Wednesday, in what Palestinian residents said was an attack by Jewish colonists living nearby.
The main gate of the mosque in Deir Istiya village and some of the carpeting inside were charred by the blaze and graffiti in Hebrew was scrawled on an outside wall, Reuters reported.
Israeli soldiers entered the village on Wednesday morning and were investigating.
The incident comes at a delicate time in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which were revived last year and are set to expire in April. The United States is trying, with little obvious success, to narrow the gaps between the two sides.
Palestinians from the village of Qusra detained and beat a group of Israeli settlers at a construction site, who sparked clashes after entering the village near Nablus, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on January 7, 2014, eyewitnesses and officials said.
The Palestinian security sources told AFP the settlers were eventually released and handed to the Israeli army.
A series of vandalism acts involving arson and writing graffiti on homes in Palestinian villages in recent weeks has raised tensions.
Israel cites Biblical and historical claims to the West Bank, but the United Nations considers its colonies illegal and most world powers say they are an obstacle to peace.
Palestinians want the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, as part of their future state, and envision a full withdrawal of Israeli soldiers and colonists.