Peace Talks up in Flames after Mosque Attacks

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Bilal Ibn Rabah mosque in Huwwara, south of Nablus, was attacked earlier this year by Israeli settlers. Source: Reuters

Plans for resuming peace talks in the Holy Land seem to have failed in the aftermath of yesterday’s mosque attack.

A mosque in Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem in Palestine was brutally attacked in the early hours of 4 October.

It is as yet unknown who was responsible for the attack; locals in Beit Fajjar claim they were Jewish settlers from Gush Etzion.

The mosque was set alight from the inside. 15 copies of the Qur’an were ruined and prayer mats were also destroyed.

The mosque was vandalised on the outside – the word ‘revenge’ and phrases like ‘price tag’ and ‘mosques we burn’ were scrawled on the walls in Hebrew.

Conservative Israeli settlers have a adopted a policy of ‘price tagging’ Palestinians – through attacking the people, their homes, holy sites or land – as a method of releasing aggression towards the Israeli government for moves deemed by the settlers to not be in the interests of Israel.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has not released a comment or statement about this attack. Recently however, the Prime Minister has refused to listen to US or international pressure to freeze settlement building in Israel.

A 10-month ban on settlement building ended a week ago; Netanyahu has refused to discuss an extension to this.

"Get ready to pay the price", reads this shocking slogan at the entrance to a mosque in the West Bank's Yasuf village. In this attacks, bookshelves and carpets were burned. Another slogan in the same attack reads "We will burn you all"

Israeli settlements have been declared illegal under international law but Israel does not see it as such. The coalition government of Israel is right- wing and therefore consists of a great deal of pro-settlement politicians.

In the midst of peace talks and proposed discussions on a wide variety of issues related to the safety of the Israeli and Palestinian people, this attack is a horrible spanner in the works which, sadly, draws the focus of international attention to the differences between these two ancient peoples rather than their shared interests of a peaceful and safe homeland.

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