The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East has condemned a ‘shocking’ attack on an Anglican church located in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.
In a statement, Archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, Most Rev Hossam Elias explained how Israeli forces launched an “unannounced and unwarranted raid” on St Andrew’s Anglican/Episcopal Church in Ramallah.
According to the statement, soldiers wrecked the church entrance by smashing the door's lock and security glass.
St Andrew’s is located in a compound with other religious buildings such as a church sanctuary, parish hall, church offices, rectory, and the Arab Episcopal Medical Centre.
“The community living inside the church compound felt unsafe during the assault. The sound of gunshots, stun grenades, and the smashing of doors caused terror among the families living inside the compound.
“Although there is no justification for this shocking incursion into church premises, the Israeli forces only later justified this harsh treatment as a raid on Al-Haq, one of the most prominent Human Rights groups in the West Bank, to whom St Andrew's rents an office with a totally separate entrance from the church,” the statement continued.
Archbishop Hossam condemned the attack “unequivocally” and said the attack was both a “violation of international law and a terroristic act against the entire community”.
The statement continued: “The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem therefore stands firmly with the Rector of St Andrew's, the Rev Fadi Diab, and the whole community of St Andrew's in Ramallah, as well as with all who are distressed by this irresponsible act of violence.
“Accordingly, it demands that the Israeli authorities conduct a speedy and impartial investigation into this incident, followed by serious disciplinary action against the offenders.”