Middle East

Arsonists Attack West Bank Mosque

This won’t be good for peace talks. Arsonists have attacked a Palestinian mosque in the West Bank, burning rugs, Korans, and writing “revenge” and “a mosque must be burned” on the walls. The mosque attack, the third in the last 10 months, is believed to be part of a campaign by militant settlers in which they attack Palestinians in response to the Israeli military’s attempts to curb their building. Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, has said that no means will be spared in catching the “terrorists” responsible. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision not to renew the moratorium on West Bank construction continues to put heavy strain on peace negotiations. Palestinian President Mahmound Abbas says he won’t continue negotiating if settlement construction resumes, and both the Palestinian leadership and the public support him in his decision. The Obama administration has offered Netanyahu military technology and security guarantees in exchange for a 60-day extension of the building moratorium, but so far he has rejected the deal.