Christians in Jerusalem marched on Monday to protest the frequent desecration of holy sites and places of worship. The attacks are believed to be carried out by groups of extremist Jewish settlers.
Several high profile attacks took place last year near the Abbey of the Dormition, as well as a Molotov cocktail thrown at a monastery in Beit Jala earlier this August. Extremists have now been targeting Christian cemeteries in Jerusalem. The most recent attack occurred on October 1st, at a Catholic cemetery well known to many as the final resting place of Oskar Schindler, who saved over 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust.
Authorities describe the violent acts as “price tag” attacks, the name given for vandalism or acts of violence aimed usually at Israeli security forces or Palestinians. Usually carried out by radical Israeli Jewish settlers, attackers will strike at a site, usually Christian or Muslim, as a “price” for being evicted from their settlements.
The peaceful demonstration against the attacks began at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and continued to two cemeteries, Catholic and Anglican, that were recently desecrated.
Fides News Agency reported that participants carried a wooden cross, as well as “sang and recited prayers along the way, spreading a statement in which they denounce acts of intimidation against monasteries, cemeteries, churches and mosques.”
“It was a spontaneous demonstration to denounce the repeated attacks against holy places carried out by an irresponsible minority, that threatens the peaceful coexistence among peoples” Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem told Fides.
There have also been reports that the extremists have also led attacks against mosques that are frequented by Palestinian Arabs.