By Lisa Haddock
NJ Faith Forum Editor
After the pullout of Israeli troops on Monday (Sept.12), Palestinians flooded into abandoned Jewish settlements and set synagogues on fire, the Associated Press reported.
Palestinian police stood by as crowds wrecked the buildings and fired guns into the air in celebration of Israel’s withdrawal. One officer was quoted as saying that the people had a right to do what they were doing.
The houses of worship were the only buildings left standing after the pullout. The Israeli government had bulldozed houses and other structures and had intended to raze the synagogues. But rabbis pressed the government not to do so; the rabbis sought international or Palestinian protection for the buildings. The Palestinian Authority refused.
The U.S. criticized the Israelis for failing to demolish the synagogues themselves; failure to destroy the buildings would make the Palestinians look bad, no matter what they did, the U.S. said.
Meanwhile, the Guardian, a British paper, reported that Hamas is claiming that their terrorist measures forced the Israeli departure. One Hamas poster in Gaza proclaimed: "We are celebrating the victory of the bomb."
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