Fri 03 February 2023:
Israeli settlers stormed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem and tried to set it on fire.
The Jerusalem governorate said in a brief press statement that three settlers stormed the church building opposite the El-Omariya school, broke and destroyed effigies of Christ in the prison of Christ Chapel, and tried to set it on fire.
It added that the guard on site confronted the settlers.
Police said the suspect is aged in his 40s. The Franciscan custodians for the Holy Land said that he tore down and defaced a statue of Jesus at the church.
“You can’t have idols in Jerusalem, this is the holy city,” he was heard saying in video footage posted online.
Churches in Jerusalem and the property of Christians are regularly subjected to attacks by settlers, the latest of which was the destruction of the tombstones of 30 graves in a cemetery belonging to the Evangelical Episcopal Church in occupied Jerusalem.
This comes as the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, blamed the current escalation in violence on the Israeli government, saying: “We affirm that the Israeli Government is responsible for what’s happening these days, because of its practices that undermine the two-state solution and violate the signed agreements.”
Abbas told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The continued opposition to the efforts of the Palestinian people to defend their existence and their legitimate rights in international forums and courts, and to provide international protection – to provide international protection for our people – is a policy that encourages the Israeli occupier to commit more crimes and violate international law.”
“This comes at a time when Israel is being overlooked without deterrence or accountability, and it continues its unilateral operations, including settlement, actual annexation of lands, settler (inaudible), storming Palestinian territory, committing crimes, house demolitions, forcible displacement of Palestinians, changing the identity of Jerusalem and violating historical status quo, and the violation of sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque, and the seizure of funds, and accompanying operations of ethnic cleansing and apartheid,” he added.
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