‘Peeping tom’ sparks Muslim-Christian fighting

By Aaron Klein

Muslim and Christian residents fought each other on the streets of Bethlehem yesterday after a Christian woman complained that a Muslim man watched her undress in a clothing store.

The woman, who is married, says the Muslim man sexually harassed her, then used the camera on his cell phone to take pictures of her while she was changing in a boutique dressing room. The woman ran out of the shop and cried for help.

Eyewitnesses told reporters the man fled to a nearby mosque, where he was surrounded by dozens of residents and relatives of the woman who attacked him and set fire to cars parked outside.

Palestinian security forces fired into the air to disperse the crowd and arrested the alleged peeping tom, but later in the day, hundreds of Muslim residents surrounded the police station and demanded the suspect be released.

The suspect’s relatives and friends reportedly stormed the police station at night, and then destroyed Christian-owned property in the town, sparking more fighting between the two sides.

The Palestinian Authority brought reinforcements from Ramallah and other Palestinian cities to contain the violence and imposed a curfew on the town. PA leaders said they reached a three-day truce between the sides as a first step to contain the violence.

At least 27 people were injured, most lightly.