Mosque near Ramallah torched in suspected ‘price tag’ attack

‘The hate virus, like the coronavirus, is a common enemy of all religions and peoples in the world.’

Scene from the suspected 'price-tag' attack in a mosque in Al-Bireh, July 27, 2020 (photo credit: IYAD HADAD/BTSELEM)
Scene from the suspected 'price-tag' attack in a mosque in Al-Bireh, July 27, 2020
(photo credit: IYAD HADAD/BTSELEM)
A mosque in the West Bank Palestinian city of Al-Bireh near Ramallah was vandalized and attempts were made to ignite it during a suspected hate crime on Sunday night, according to Israeli NGOs and the Palestinian News Agency Wafa.
Economy Minister Amir Peretz immediately condemned the overnight arson attack, stating, “The virus of hate, just like the COVID-19 virus, is an enemy common to all religions and nations of the world.
“Just as we are all battling to combat the virus, we also have to work together to eradicate the virus of hate. We must do everything possible to avoid additional war,” said Peretz, who also heads the Labor Party.
He called on those who attempted to ignite the mosque to be brought swiftly to justice.
The incident was reported Monday morning by Israeli left-wing NGOs B’Tselem and Tag Meir. B’Tselem provided photos of the mosque. The images showed charred places in the building and the spray-painted Hebrew writing on one of the mosque’s exterior walls that said: “Siege on the Arabs and not the Jews” and “the Land of Israel.”

Suspected 'price-tag' attack at a mosque in Al-Birah, July 27, 2020 (Photo Credit: Iyad Hada/Btselem)Suspected 'price-tag' attack at a mosque in Al-Birah, July 27, 2020 (Photo Credit: Iyad Hada/Btselem)

Joint List MK Sondos Saleh immediately used the arson attack to go after Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, who had called those protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vandals.
“Minister Ohana – this is vandalism,” she stated.
Those who should receive criminal charges shouldn’t be those who protest against Netanyahu by blocking roads, but those who “vandalized and damaged” a mosque in Al-Bireh, she said.
The Palestinians charged that Israeli settlers had perpetuated the attack with covert support of the government.
The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department tweeted: “Supported by their government, Israeli settlers continue to attack Palestinians, their properties and places of worship, even during current trying times under #COVID19. At dawn today, they attacked/ set fire into ‘Al Bir Wal Ihsan’ Mosque in Al-Bireh city adjacent to Ramallah.”
PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat tweeted, “this is racism and apartheid.”
The NGO Tag Meir linked the torching to other such acts of vandalism on either side of the Green Line.
“The torching of the mosque in Al-Bireh joins a mosque in the Sharafat neighborhood of Jerusalem that was torched in January 2020 and the mosque in Jish in the Galilee that was desecrated in February 2020,” said the NGO, which deals with hate crimes and “price tag” attacks.
“Since 2009, 60 mosques, churches and monasteries have been torched and desecrated,” Tag Meir added. “Jewish terrorists who, only a few days ago, attacked Border Police officers near Yitzhar continue to deal with destruction and devastation in the week in which the Jewish people mark Tisha Be’av.”