Peres Condemns 'Price Tag' Attack on Muslim and Christian Cemeteries

President calls defacement of two Jaffa cemeteries a 'criminal act' and calls on law authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice; activists plan a demonstration at the sites later Saturday.

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Israeli President Shimon Peres condemned on Saturday the defacement of Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa, calling the act "a criminal act that dishonors us and is opposed to the ethical values of Israeli society." In a statement released by the president's office, Peres called on law authorities to do "their utmost" to catch the criminals and bring them to justice as soon as possible.

The cemeteries were desecrated on Friday, the eve of Yom Kippur, when headstones were smashed and racist slogans were spray-painted on graves. The two cemeteries, one Muslim and the other Christian, were vandalized by graffiti that said Death to the Arabs, and Price Tag, Channel 10 reported.

Graffiti is seen on a gravestone in a cemetery in Jaffa, just south of central Tel Aviv, October 8, 2011. Credit: Reuters

President of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, Sheikh Ahme Abu Ajwa, said, This is an attempt by extremists to incite the Arab masses, calling for calm. United Arab List-Taal party leader MK Ibrahim Sarsur called upon the perpetrators, whoever they may be, to end the racist attacks. Activists plan to hold a protest at the sites later on Saturday.

Recently, there have been numerous attacks on Muslim places of worship in Israel and the West Bank.

A mosque was burned in the Galilee Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangariyya on Sunday night. The entire interior of the mosque went up in flames, causing heavy damage, and holy books inside the mosque were burned. Graffiti with the words price tag was found on the wall of the mosque.

A mosque in the West Bank village of Qusra, south of Nablus, was set on fire in early September. According to Palestinian sources, a group of settlers arrived at the village mosque at approximately 3 A.M., threw burning tires toward it, and broke several of its windows.

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