World Bulletin/News Desk
The U.S. condemned an attack against a mosque by a group of Jewish settlers in the West Bank on Wednesday.
“We believe that such hateful and provocative actions against a place of worship are never justified,” said Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman. “We look to law enforcement officials to quickly investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack.”
The first floor of the mosque in Ramallah's al-Mogheer village was completely burned and the second floor sustained partial damage.
"Death to Arabs" and other anti-Arab slogans were scrawled on the mosque's walls, according to eyewitnesses.
Also, on Wednesday, Israeli announced the construction of 200 new housing units in East Jerusalem where tensions have been high since late last month, after Israel temporarily closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex after an extremist Jewish rabbi was injured in a drive-by shooting in West Jerusalem.
“We are deeply concerned by this decision, particularly given the tense situation in Jerusalem, as well as the unequivocal and unanimous position of the United States and others in the international community opposing such construction in east Jerusalem,” said Psaki.
She added that the decisions to expand construction has the potential to exacerbate tensions in the area.
Unrest mounted after several Israeli parliamentarians entered the Al-Aqsa complex in recent weeks, drawing the ire of Muslim worshippers and official condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries.
Groups of Jewish settlers have also recently forced their way into the religious site, triggering clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli forces.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews refer to the area as the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon triggered what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2014, 11:18