JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday condemned the desecration of a mosque in a village in the occupied West Bank by suspected Jewish settlers.
In a statement, he “vigorously denounced the aggression against the mosque” and said he had “told the security forces to act with determination to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
Attackers vandalised the mosque in Yasuf in the northern West Bank overnight on Thursday and Friday, spraying hate messages in Hebrew and burning holy books in an attack blamed on hardliners angered by plans to curb settlement building.
Clashes later erupted as villagers hurled stones at Israeli troops sent to investigate the incident.
Security forces used teargas to disperse hundreds of furious villagers who tried to march on the nearby settlement of Tappuah after Palestinians blamed settlers there for the attack.
On Saturday Israeli President Shimon Peres also condemned the mosque attack, calling it “an incendiary criminal act against all the moral principles of the state of Israel.”
“The government, security forces and all authorities must spare no effort to catch the guilty parties,” he said in a statement.
On Friday Defence Minister Ehud Barak denounced the attack as “an extreme act meant to harm the government’s attempts to advance the process for Israel’s future.”
Settlers have expressed outrage over the government’s decision to impose a 10-month moratorium on new building permits for Israeli homes in the West Bank, outside annexed Arab east Jerusalem.
The settlement issue has been one of the thorniest in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, which have been stalled for the past year.
The Palestinians reject the moratorium as insufficient and insist they will not return to the negotiating table unless there is a complete settlement freeze in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem which they see as the capital of their promised state.
‘Martyrdom for snowflakes’: CNN analyst knocks Republicans who desperately wanted to be arrested at protest
CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.
Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told "there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse."
Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of "martyrdom for snowflakes."
Seth Meyers says Republicans storming classified room looked like a protest at a pharmacy that ran out of Viagra
"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers couldn't help but lambast the far-right Republicans angry that they're not being included in the depositions ahead of the impeachment hearings.
Wednesday, Republicans stormed a secure room known as a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), because they seemed to misunderstand the difference between a deposition and a hearing. In Congressional hearings, witnesses will be presented for members of the committee to question. In a classified deposition, the witness can give information that is considered classified for security reasons. Oddly, some members who are allowed in the room were also protesting.
WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado
CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.
"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."