Palestinians allege arson in Ramallah mosque fire

Arson suspected after Ramallah area mosque torched, spray-painted with racist slogans.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Unknown attackers set a mosque in the Ramallah area on fire and spray-painted Hebrew language anti-Arab slogans on the walls, Ynet reported Monday.

Palestinians said the perpetrators carried out the overnight attack at the Al-Bireh Mosque, spray-painting the slogan ‘curfew for Arabs and not Jews’ and “the land of Israel for the nation of Israel’ in Hebrew on an outside wall before setting the mosque on fire.

Palestinians accused Israeli settlers of carrying out the apparent hate crime after local residents noticed the fire, the report said.

Pictures posted on social media showed heavy damage to what appeared to be a kitchen and restrooms, but the prayer hall was not directly affected by the fire.

Al-Bireh mayor Azzam Ismail accused settlers of sneaking into the city during the night to carry out the attack, which Ismail and the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Affairs condemned, saying they held Israel responsible “for its support of these terror groups,” the Palestinian WAFA News agency reported.

Israeli government officials also condemned the attack, with Economy Minister Amir Peretz calling on unity to fight hate, Israel Hayom reported.

“The perpetrators must be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Peretz said. “The people who set fire to a mosque are trying to ignite the entire area. The virus of hate, much like the coronavirus, is a common enemy to all religions, and just as all of us are fighting the pandemic together, we must come together to eradicate hate.”

Transportation Minister Miri Regev of the Likud Party also condemned the attack, saying “it is forbidden to take the law in to your own hands.”

Settler leaders in Judea and Samaria must “get the message across to the extremist Jewish minority that is trying to inflame the situation,” Regev said in comments reported by The Jerusalem Post.

In May, an Israeli was found guilty of three counts of murder in the 2015 arson attack on a home in the Arab village of Kfar Duma, which killed three members of the Dawabsha family, including an 18-month-old. In that attack Hebrew graffiti was also spray-painted on the walls. His attorneys are appealing the decision.