Palestinian Christians call for action against settler violence

Published August 11th, 2015 - 06:00 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

The body in charge of Roman Catholic properties in Palestine has called for legal action against Israeli settlers attacking Christian sites and Palestinian properties.

"The danger and threats to the Church and to Christians in Israel are imminent," read the letter of Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodian of the Holy Land, to the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein as seen by AFP on Monday.

The top Vatican-appointed official in the Middle East denounced the "atmosphere of de facto impunity" of Israeli settlers.

The letter comes against the backdrop of deadly attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian homes and Christian sites in the occupied Palestinian territories in recent weeks.

"To our utter dismay, recent years have witnessed an alarming and frightening increase in violent attacks against Christians, Christianity and Christian institutions in Israel," the letter said.

It called for "the ferocious campaign of religious incitement and racist violence" in the occupied territories to end.

The letter also called on the Israeli authority to take immediate action to stop the attacks reportedly by the extremist Lehava organization and prosecute the leader of the group, Benzi Gopstein, for threatening Church interests.

In a gathering last week, Gopstein expressed support for the idea of burning down churches.

An assembly of churches in the region have condemned the comments.

This as an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler and his father died after settlers firebombed the family's home in the West Bank town of Nablus last month.

On June 18, a Christian shrine on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel came under arson attack by settlers.

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