Hosam Naoum, archbishop and caretaker of the Protestant cemetery, inspects vandalised graves on Mount Zion outside Jerusalem’s Old City, 4 January 2023 (AFP)
Palestinian graves in the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery in occupied east Jerusalem were desecrated by two Israeli settlers on Sunday, 1 January.
In a press release, Archbishop Hosam Naoum condemned the vandalism of the revered Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion in the occupied city.
“This act is not just cowardly but disgusting, and any person with blood through their veins would reject such behavior,” Naoum said during a press conference, according to WAFA news agency.
“This really shows a clear hate crime towards Christians in Jerusalem, which we absolutely reject and condemn,” he added.
According to local media, two unidentified men broke into the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem on 1 January and vandalized over 30 graves.
The security footage, which shows the suspects in the act, was widely shared on Twitter on 4 January.
CCTV footage shows Jewish Israeli settlers desecrating graves in the Protestant Cemetery in occupied Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/N9yQflyzO3
— Mohammed El-Kurd (@m7mdkurd) January 3, 2023
Archbishop Naoum stated, “we hope the Israeli authorities can take accountability and arrest whoever is responsible for this cowardly act, so such an event doesn’t reoccur,” adding that Israel was sadly facing “religious radicalism.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas released an official statement saying they “strongly condemn the storming of a group of extremist zionists in the Protestant cemetery in the occupied city of Al-Quds, smashing gravestones and trampling on them, in a criminal and racist behavior that violates all divine laws and international norms. We hold the fascist occupation government fully responsible for the repercussions of this crime.”
“We affirm that the escalating crimes of the occupation and its settlers in attacking and desecrating Islamic and Christian graves in the occupied city of Al-Quds reveal the truth of this usurping entity and the aggressive nature of the zionist extremists against the Palestinian people, their land, and their sanctities,” the statement added.
Since the recent elections in Israel and the formation of a new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has faced more pressure from its allies, with little to no consequences.
The Gulf states also strongly condemned the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyard by Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, on 3 December and warned against the consequences of this “unilateral measure.”
While countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have warned that the newly formed relationship could be strained by the inclusion of extremist, anti-Arab politicians like Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich in Israel’s government, the Gulf states and signatories of the Abraham Accords have continued to improve diplomatic and economic ties with Israel.