Israeli Police See Possible Settler Link With Monastery Attack

Israeli police are investigating the possibility that an attack on a monastery was meant as retaliation for the eviction of Jewish settlers from a West Bank outpost.

Vandals painted the walls of the Latrun monastery with anti-Christian graffiti and set fire to the front door early today, said Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman. The graffiti also made reference to the Migron outpost, which was cleared of settlers by police two days ago, he said.

“There’s a strong possibility that the two incidents are linked,” Rosenfeld said in a telephone interview. “We have a special investigation team looking into it.” The monastery is halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities have clashed in recent years with settlers behind a campaign called “price tag,” which has defaced mosques in the West Bank and threatened Israeli peace campaigners. The settlers reject Palestinian claims to the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War.

“We hold the Israeli government fully responsible,” Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, said in an e- mailed statement. “The settlers’ actions amount to terrorism.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv at jferziger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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