The top United Nations envoy in the Middle East deplored today’s desecration of a mosque in the occupied West Bank and called for “forceful” action by the Israeli Government against such attacks.
Media reports say a burning tyre was thrown into the mosque, located in the village of Al Mughayyir near Ramallah, and Hebrew graffiti was daubed on the walls. The attack was reportedly carried out by settlers in retaliation for the dismantling of unauthorized Jewish settlements nearby.
“The actions of Israeli extremists are highly provocative and threatening,” Mr. Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in a statement.
“I note the condemnation of this attack by the Israeli Government and stress the need for forceful action against this and other like attacks,” he stated.
Mr. Serry added that, consistent with its obligations under international law as the occupying power, the Israeli Government must ensure the accountability of those responsible and protect the human rights of Palestinians and their property, including religious sites.
Mr. Serry and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have repeatedly stressed the need for Israelis and Palestinians to resume the peace talks that stalled last September following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.
That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.