The United States on Tuesday denounced an arson attack on a West Bank mosque by suspected Jewish right-wing extremists, but noted that the Israeli government has pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today's provocative attack on a mosque in the West Bank village of Kfar Jabaa near Ramallah. Hateful, dangerous, and provocative actions such as these are never justified," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
"We note that the Israeli Government has condemned this heinous attack and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice. We look to Israeli law enforcement officials to do so expeditiously," she added.
Notably, the attackers had left behind racist anti-Arab slogans written in Hebrew on the exterior walls of the mosque, implying that the arson attack was carried out by Jewish extremists.
Soon after the mosque was vandalized and set on fire on Tuesday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident, saying: "This was the work of intolerant, irresponsible lawbreakers. We will act quickly in order to bring them to justice."
Israel has settled about 500,000 Jews in more than 100 settlements built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights from Jordan, Egypt and Syria respectively in the war.
However, the Israeli annexation of the captured area is not recognized by the international community, which considers building settlements in the occupied land as illegal.
Currently, the U.S.-initiated negotiations aimed at ending the Middle East conflict remain deadlocked over Israel's refusal to extend a construction freeze in the West Bank after its expiry on September 26, 2010.
Israel has since approved several plans to build new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, ignoring strong objections from the international community.
by RTT Staff Writer
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