Israeli PM 'intolerant' towards desecration

Updated: 2011-10-09 22:15


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JERUSALEM - Speaking during a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to "not tolerate any vandalism, certainly not any directed at religious sites," after dozens of Arab graves were vandalized on Saturday in Jaffa, next to Tel Aviv.

Hours after the incident, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in the same area, apparently in response to the desecration of Muslim and Christian graves in the nearby cemeteries, though no damage was reported.

"Our tolerance is toward religious sensitivities and our need to continue living together in coexistence and mutual respect, without violence, in tranquillity and peace. Our intolerance is directed toward those who oppose these practices and this way of life," Netanyahu said during the meeting and promised to act against the perpetrators to "fullest extent of the law" .

The graffiti on the graves read "Death to the Arabs" and "Price tag," a term locally used to describe reprisals by right wing activists.

"I am sure that our police will apprehend all the people who did this, the criminals, and we shall not let them walk free" President Shimon Peres also condemned the vandalism on Sunday.

The attack comes only a week after a mosque was torched in the north, allegedly by right-wingers.

About 200 Jews and Arabs rallied Saturday night in Jaffa to protest the incident and against racism and violence.

In order to vent off tensions in the area, police officials are in talks with Jewish and Muslim community leaders to prevent additional escalation. "Our greatest fear is that there will be casualties and then everything will go up in smoke," police officials were quoted by the Ynet news service as saying.