Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemns Israel settlers for vandalising church land 

Israeli settlers broke in and damaged a Church in the West Bank on 23 September 2018 (Twitter)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 26, 2020

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has condemned the intrusion of its territory near the village of Tayasir, in the occupied West Bank, by thousands of Israeli settlers who stormed it without permission and gathered on land belonging to the Catholic church.

Crowds of Israeli settlers arrived aboard dozens of buses and cars last week, overrunning church land without permission, Independent Catholic News reported.  A few days earlier, groups of settlers had brought herds of cows to the Patriarchate lands and are said to have caused considerable damage.

The Christian group expressed grave concern not only over the settlers’ violations of its properties, but also at the lack of action by the Israeli authorities to put an end to such offences.

In a statement released on Saturday by a number of Catholic sources, the Patriarchate noted the settlers did not have permission to enter the land, calling the action a violation of private property.

“It should be mentioned that settlers brought their cows, some days ago, to the Patriarchate lands and caused considerable damage there,” the statement said.

“It should be mentioned also that the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem protested to the Israeli authorities on similar violations of its property near Tayasir by settlers, but – so far – violations to our property continues to take place while the authorities are practically not prohibiting them,” the Patriarchate continued, adding it is “very concerned not only from the settlers’ violations of its properties, but also from the lack of action by the Israeli authorities to put an end to such offenses.”

The Patriarchate urged the Israeli authorities “to make sure that law to be respected by all people under their control and to ban further illegal breaking into our properties.”

The settlers are reported to have also attacked Palestinian shepherds near Tuwaneh village, in the southern of West Bank, forcing them to leave the area, while Israeli occupation forces looked on.

Fouad Al-Amour, a Palestinian official in charge of monitoring Israeli settlement activities in the area, was reported saying that Israeli soldiers in the area did not intervene to stop the settlers, and instead provided them protection