Settler tries to burn Gethsemane Church in Jerusalem

Jerusalem /PNN/

An Israeli settler attempted today on burning down the Gethsemane Church in the Mount of Olives area in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.

Witnesses reported that the settler, pretending to be a visitor, sneaked into the premises of the church before he was seen pouring some flammable liquid there. The settler then tried to set some of the wooden pews on fire, but was thwarted by local Palestinian citizens who handed him over to a police force which had just arrived at the scene.

The Israeli occupation police provided no details about the attack, but past attacks on churches across historical Palestine have been blamed on hardcore Jewish extremists.

The Presidency of Palestine condemned today an attempt by a hardcore Israeli settler to burn down the Gethsemane Church in occupied Jerusalem, describing the act as a hateful terrorist attack.

The Presidency blamed the Israeli government for this latest attack and for other past attacks on Palestinians, their holy places and their property, saying this attack was evidence of the brutality and savageness of the Israeli settlers who practice terrorism in plain full sight of the Israeli occupation forces.

In the meantime, the Highter Presidential Commission for Churches Affairs condemned the attack carried out by a settler on the Church of Gethsemane in occupied Jerusalem in an attempt to burn it down.

Ramzy Khoury, Chairman of the Commission, said the attack was not the first of its kind on places of worship and on Islamic and Christian sanctities, especially in Jerusalem.

He mentioned a 2015 incident in which Jewish extremists carried out an arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, near Tiberias, as well as another attack by settlers which targeted Coptic priests in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

He accused the Israeli occupation government and settlers of attempting by all means to weaken the Palestinian Arab presence in Jerusalem and to displace its indigenous population.

In 2015, Jewish extremists were blamed for an arson attack that caused extensive damage to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, a popular pilgrimage site on the Sea of Galilee in the north of Israeli-occupied historical Palestine.

The Gethsemane Church, sometimes referred to as the Church of All Nations, is a Catholic church built on the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christians believe Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his followers, and arrested by the Romans before being crucified.

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