Mosque Burned, Vandalized in East Jerusalem Hate Crime

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The graffiti at the Beit Safafa mosque, January 24, 2020.
The graffiti at the Beit Safafa mosque, January 24, 2020. Credit: כיבוי והצלה ירושלים

A fire broke out on Friday night in a mosque in the Beit Safafa neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and graffiti was sprayed on the walls of the building.

No one was hurt as a result of the incident, but the mosque was damaged.

One of the slogans sprayed on the walls names the illegal outpost of "Kumi Ori" outside of the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. Settlers at the outpost have been involved in several violent altercations with Israeli forces, including throwing stones, and have committed a number of hate crimes in Arab villages throughout the West Bank.

Graffitti on the mosque read, "destroy for Jews?" referring to Israeli demolition of structures at the outpost, "destroy for enemies!"

Earlier in January, Israeli forces demolished two structures on Kumi Ori Hill, after the High Court rejected a petition against the outpost's demolition. One person was arrested for assaulting security forces during the operation.

Joint List MK Ofer Cassif condemned the hate crime, saying that "when the police and the General Security Services deliberately refrain from punishing the rioters, it will come as no surprise if people will also soon be burned."

"There is no doubt that disregarding the state is a high instruction, from Netanyahu himself. The events serve him," added Cassif. 

Meanwhile, 15 Palestinians were arrested Friday morning on their way to prayer at the Temple Mount. On Thursday, the Islamic Movement and Hamas called for protest prayers to happen Friday, due to the increase of Jews coming to the Temple Mount, according to the organizations.

Unusually, large police forces entered the complex. The police on Friday spread tens of thousands of messages to East Jerusalem residents, calling them to pray but obey the law.

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