01/04/2023, 10.50
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Jerusalem: Jewish extremists desecrate Christian cemetery on Mount Zion

Destroyed graves and damaged tombstones in the Protestant cemetery, owned by the Anglican Church. A video allegedly shows two people wearing yarmulkes entering the area and desecrating it. A UN Security Council meeting is scheduled for the "provocative" Ben-Gvir walk on the Esplanade of the Mosques. 




Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - A new, serious episode of religiously motivated intolerance took place in Israel yesterday, as the controversy continues over Security Minister Itaman Ben-Gvir's "walk" around the al-Aqsa compound, condemned by the Arab world and a large part of the international community.

As yet unidentified vandals damaged several graves at the Protestant cemetery of Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, owned by the Anglican Church; a video shows a group of people, apparently Jews, destroying tombstones.

In a note, the police explain that they arrived at the scene after receiving a complaint of vandalism, accompanied by images showing (in the photos) overturned gravestones and damaged masonry parts.

The security camera video recorded on 1 January at 3.25pm - and relaunched on social media - shows two men, apparently Jewish men wearing yarmulkes, hitting the tombstones and throwing stones at the graves.

The then Bishop of Jerusalem Samuel Gobat opened the cemetery in 1848 and today it is owned by the Church Missionary Trust Association Ltd, an Anglican organisation.

For some time, the Christian leaders of the Holy Land have been sounding the alarm about an escalation of Jewish-based radicalism, which threatens the very survival of the communities.

In December 2021, the patriarchs and heads of the Churches in Jerusalem issued a very harsh joint note in which they warned of the danger posed by radical groups aiming to "reduce the Christian presence".

The attack on Mount Zion is only the latest in a long series of intimidating attacks, some of them signed "price tags" and linked to settlers or Jewish extremists. In the past they have struck various targets, including the church near the Cenacle, the Basilica of Nazareth or Catholic and Greek Orthodox buildings. Mosques and Muslim places of worship have also been targeted.

"Price tag" is a slogan used by Israeli extremists, who threaten Christians and Muslims for "taking their land" from them. At one time the phenomenon was only widespread in the areas bordering the West Bank and Jerusalem, but today it has spread to most of the territory. 

In the meantime, the international outcry over the 'provocative' gesture made yesterday morning by the Israeli Minister for National Security who, escorted by a large number of agents and loyalists, visited the al-Aqsa compound has not subsided.

Tomorrow the UN Security Council is supposed to meet at the request of the United Arab Emirates (Eau) and China, to discuss the issue. There is unanimous international condemnation (from Europe to the United States, passing through the Arab world) for a gesture defined as an "unprecedented provocation" by the Palestinians, from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed "deep concern" over "unilateral" actions that could at least potentially "exacerbate tension". "The United States," he added, "strongly advocates the preservation of the status quo on Jerusalem's holy sites".

Among the first consequences of Ben-Gvir's 'walkout' is the postponement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to the Emirates, scheduled for next week. It is a headache for the recently installed Chief Executive, who has repeatedly assured he wants to maintain stability on the Temple Mount, while rejecting the intimidation of Hamas against which the Security Minister has threatened to use "an iron fist".

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