The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (ACOHL) yesterday condemned repeated Israeli settler attacks against the Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, a statement said published by Middle East Monitor.
ACOHL’s statement came following an attempt by Orthodox Jews to set fire to the entrance of the church located in Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Musrara, which is close to the Jewish Quarter. The statement stated that the local priest managed to extinguish the fire quickly, noting that the recordings of surveillance cameras showed Orthodox Jews carrying out the offensive.
“This act of vandalism is the fourth in a month that targeted the same monastery; according to the authorities, some religious Orthodox Jews are suspected as the probable assailants,” ACOHL said in a statement.
“We, Catholic Churches, unite with the Orthodox Churches and all other Christian communities of Jerusalem and strongly condemn such acts of vandalism that offend not only the life of Christians but also of many who still believe in dialogue and mutual respect,” the statement added.
It stressed that “these acts are contrary to the spirit of peaceful coexistence among the different religious communities of the city,” calling on the Israeli authorities to open a serious investigation into the attack and prosecute the assailants.
“All political and religious authorities of the City should unite in condemning these acts,” the statement said.
The ACOHL said that these acts had become frequent in Jerusalem in the past months and that all authorities, political and religious alike, should unite in condemning them.
“For that reason, we demand the Israeli security authorities investigate these incidents seriously and bring assailants to justice.”
“Price tag” vandalism is a strategy used by extremist Jewish settlers to attack Palestinians and their property in retaliation for perceived threats to Israeli settlement expansion.
These and similar attacks in Jerusalem are called “price tag” attacks, which is a name given to acts of vandalism by Jewish fundamentalist settlers aimed at the Palestinian population, Christians, left-wing Israeli Jews, Arab Israelis and the Israeli security forces, to punish any rumored compromise in peace negotiations and drive Palestinians off occupied lands.
There has been a marked increase of “price tag” attacks in Israel in recent times, against not only Christian churches but also Muslim mosques as well.
“We pray to the Almighty,” stated ACOHL, “for granting wisdom to learn to live alongside each other, respecting each other’s dignity and rights.”
Meanwhile, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Atallah Hanna said:
“We deplore and condemn this vandalism which stems from racism against churches, Christianity and Christian symbols carried out by groups bearing fanatical ideologies, rejecting others and disrespecting their privacy.”
He referred to the repeated offensives as “an action aimed to push the monks out from this monastery through terrorising them, and might be a message that the Christians are not accepted in this area.”