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Desecration and Double Standard Time

Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all
They’ll burn down the synagogues at six o’clock
And we’ll all go along like before

Del Amitri – Nothing Ever Happens


The sun had hardly had time to set on our departure from Gaza, when the neopals did something, the predictability of which does not mitigate its horror.


They started to burn down the synagogues.

A Palestinian mob raided early Monday evacuated Gaza settlements and proceeded to sow destruction and vandalize them. Four synagogues, in Morag, Netzarim, Neve Dekalim, and Kfar Darom, were torched.


Around 2:30 a.m., a Palestinian mob from Khan Younis raided the settlement of Morag and set the community’s synagogue on fire. The masses were holding PLO and Hamas flags, and fired shots in the air and fireworks in celebration.


“This is only the first step of the liberation. Tomorrow we’ll liberate all of Palestine,” the Palestinians yelled. Meanwhile, youngsters looted whatever they could find, including tables, chairs, and other furniture.


Palestinian police officers were stunned in the face of the mob and were unable to contain it. Palestinian officers complained the force deployed at the community was too small, about 300 troops, and could not handle the rioters.


Later, the masses reached Netzarim as well, shattered the deserted synagogue’s windows and attempted to set it on fire. Palestinian police forces at the scene attempted to stop the vandals, but to no avail. Palestinians made their way to the synagogue’s rooftop, held up flags, and yelled out: “We don’t want anything to remain that will remind us of the occupation.”


In Kfar Darom, a mob also set the synagogue on fire.


In Neve Dekalim, a synagogue that served as a yeshiva was also set on fire. The large building was slightly damaged by thick smoke rose above the area.


“The Israelis destroy our homes and our mosques. Now is our turn to destroy theirs,” said one of the rioters, Ahmed.


This desecration comes on the heels of an Israeli Cabinet decision not to destroy the synagogues ourselves, knowing full well that the PA would not protect them. In fact, the PA blamed Israel for the desecration.

Earlier, Palestinian Authority officials blasted Israel’s decision to leave Gaza Strip synagogues intact, and said the move placed the Palestinians in a “no win” situation.

Hisham Abdel Razek said, “What the Israelis didn’t do, the Palestinians will do instead. The Israelis must know that everything they built in the conquered areas is a symbol of the conquest and must be taken down.”


Another PA minister, Sofian Abu Zaide, called upon Israel not to put the PA to the test of preserving the synagogues: “Israel is making a mistake, or maybe it’s purposeful. You want to show the world that the Palestinians act with vulgarity to holy sites.”

While this is most certainly being shown to the world, the Israeli Cabinet decision was heavily influenced by Rabbinic opinion that overwhelmingly opposes the destruction of the synagogues (except the ones built in a temporary manner), since it is against Jewish law. The synagogues retain their sanctity. This despite PA leader Mahmoud Abbas moonlighting as an expert on Jewish law.

Early Monday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement saying synagogues in evacuated settlements will be destroyed by the PA.


“The Israelis left behind empty structures that served as synagogues in the past,” the statement read. “But they removed all religious artifacts from there and therefore they are no longer holy places.”

Abbas should stick to subjects he is an expert on – such as Holocaust denial.


Where is the world’s outrage at this desecration? Nowhere to be heard, judging by the mainstream media.


Take CNN for example:

Several Palestinians stood atop the Netzarim synagogue with flags, firing weapons into the air. A bonfire was alight under the building

Palestinians Celebrate With a Bonfire


The BBC do make mention of the fact that synagogues were destroyed – but only as a throway line.

As the Israeli troops left, thousands of jubilant Palestinians poured into empty Jewish settlements, setting fire to abandoned synagogues.


Israel decided not to raze the Strip’s more than 20 deconsecrated synagogues after rabbis argued against it.


Palestinians had urged Israel to pull them down and an official said on Sunday they would do it themselves.

The AP also stress the “Israel-is-to-blame” angle, totally ignoring the sanctity of the synagogues:

Israel removed some 8,500 Gaza settlers from their homes in 21 settlements last month, and razed homes and most buildings in the communities. However, the Israeli Cabinet decided at the last minute Sunday to leave 19 synagogue buildings intact, drawing complaints from the Palestinians and criticism from the United States.


After rushing into the settlements early Monday, Palestinians set fire to three empty synagogues, in the Morag, Kfar Darom and Netzarim settlements, as well as a Jewish seminary in Neve Dekalim. In Netzarim, two young Palestinians waving flags stomped on the smoldering debris outside the synagogue, and others took turns hitting the building with a large hammer.

Furthermore, they paint a picture of the neopal policemen trying to prevent the desecration, but unable to since the Israelis did not give them enough time to deploy.

Palestinian police appeared overwhelmed, watching the destruction from the sidelines. Police Col. Abdel Khader Abu Tayr said police didn’t have enough time to deploy because Israeli troops left without sufficient warning. “Now we are expending every effort to kick the people out and protect the buildings,” Abu Tayr said.

This is not only one-sided and insensitive; it is blatantly false, contradicting the statements of PA officials that the remaining synagogues will be destroyed by the PA themselves.



If you don’t think that the world is hypercritical when it comes to Israel, just imagine the outrage if Israelis started burning down abandoned Mosques. A UN special session would be called in no time; the mainstream media would be carrying the story as their headlines, and the Arabs would be rioting.


Update: By the way, at Yahoo News, the synagogue-burning pictures are curiously not located in the Middle East slideshow – where you would expect them. Rather, I had to seach for them by typing “synagogue” in the search box. Just sayin’.


Update: The Age makes no mention of even one synagogue being burned down, choosing instead to focus on the happiness of the neopals. They do, however, make mention of the burning of a building.

A Jewish rabbical college in one settlement was torched.

I am assuming they mean “rabbinical”, but the bigger desecration is its destruction, not its misspelling.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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