Torched Palestinian car (archives)
Photo: Zachariya Sada

'Muhammad' and Star of David spray-painted on Hawara mosque

Local Palestinians say Yitzhar settlers defaced mosque, torched vehicles; claim IDF soldiers turned blind eye

Unknown vandals arrived at the Bilal Ben-Rabah in the West Bank Palestinian village of Hawara overnight Wednesday and spray-painted a Star of David and the word "Muhammad" in Hebrew on its walls.


The vandals also set fire to two vehicles in the village, which is located near Nablus.


The Palestinians claim Jews from the nearby Yitzhar settlement committed the acts, and 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."


Hawara resident Ziad Dib told Ynet that he saw a number of settlers flee the village in a Subaru at around 3 am. According to him, the settlers torched his car.


Dib said he told representatives of the District Coordinator's Office that IDF soldiers patrolling the area must have witnessed the act. "Two military hummers came and went as the settlers were busy setting (the vehicles) on fire. The soldiers pretended not to see anything, but they had to have seen the settler's actions. It's a miracle that an electric pole did not catch fire as well," he said.


The army said Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon, head of the IDF's Judea and Samaria Division, has ordered an investigation into the events, adding that it views the defacing of holy sites as an "egregious act."


The graffiti was erased Wednesday morning by District Coordinator's Office personnel.


Rabbis for Human Rights issued a statement saying, "We know for a fact that two or three Border Guard jeeps regularly patrol the area. The officers could have prevented the damage caused to Palestinian property."


Shmulik Grossman contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 04.14.10, 12:35
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