What some observers are calling a pogrom took place near Ramallah, West Bank, on the night of September 3-4. That’s when 15 Muslim youths from one village, Dair Jarir, rampaged against Taybeh, a neighboring all-Christian village of 1,500 people.
The reason for the assault? A Muslim woman from Dair Jarir, Hiyam Ajaj, 23, fell in love with her Christian boss, Mehdi Khouriyye, owner of a tailor shop in Taybeh. The couple maintained a clandestine two-year affair and she became pregnant in about March 2005. When her family members learned of her condition, they murdered her. That was on about September 1; unsatisfied even with this “honor killing” — for Islamic law strictly forbids non-Muslim males to have sexual relations with Muslim females — the Ajaj men sought vengeance against Khouriyye and his family.
They took it two days later in an assault on Taybeh. The Ajajs and their friends broke into houses and stole furniture, jewelry, and electrical appliances. They threw Molotov cocktails at some buildings and poured kerosene on others, then torched them. The damage included at least 16 houses, some stores, a farm, and a gas station. The assailants vandalized cars, looted extensively, and destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary.
“It was like a war,” one Taybeh resident told the Jerusalem Post. Hours passed before the Palestinian Authority security and fire services arrived. The 15 assailants spent only a few hours in police detention, then were released. As for Khouriyye, the Palestinian Arab police arrested him, kept him in jail, and (his family says) have repeatedly beat him.
As the news service Adnkronos International notes, for Palestinian Christians “the fact that the Muslim aggressors have been released while the Christian tailor-shop owner is still being held, at best symbolizes the PA’s indifference to the plight of Palestinian Christians, at worst shows it is taking sides against them.”
Read it all. Good links in the original.