Palestinians take streets over Israel's move on Ibrahimi mosque

Palestinians took the streets after Israeli announcement on adding two West Bank locals into Israeli plan to "restore" Jewish and Zionist "heritage".

Palestinians take streets over Israel's move on Ibrahimi mosque

Palestinians took the streets on Monday after Israeli announcement on adding two West Bank locals into Israeli plan to "restore" Jewish and Zionist "heritage".

The Israeli troops fired tear gas at the protesters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque which Jews say Cave of the Patriarchs in al-Khalil and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem would be added to the list of around 150 sites that Israel plans to restore.

 

Palestinian security forces intervened the hundreds of demonstrators throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers in the divided flashpoint city of Hebron, where the shrine is located.

Palestinians are calling the move an attempt to seize land and holy sites on Israeli-occupied land where they hope to build a future state.

 

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday he intended to include the Tomb of the Patriarchs and several other Jewish religious shrines in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war in a $107 million plan to restore Jewish heritage sites.

Khaled Esseleh, the mayor of Hebron, said: "I'm hoping there won't be more clashes but this is a very sensitive religious issue, and Netanyahu just lit the fire."

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the "unilateral decision to make Palestinian sites in Hebron and Bethlehem part of Israel shows there is no genuine partner for peace, but an occupying power intent on consolidating Palestinian lands".

While major powers worked to restart negotiations, "Netanyahu is actively working to sabotage the two-state solution", Erekat said in a statement.

Reactions on Israel's announcement

 
"Instead of taking steps to pave the necessary ground for re- launching the peace process, Israel is adopting measures that derail the ongoing peace moves," Minister of State for Media Affairs Nabil Sharif was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which Muslims call al-Ibrahimi mosque, is sacred to Jews and Muslims as the traditional burial place of biblical figures Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah.

Hebron and the shrine itself have long been flashpoints of violence in the West Bank, territory Israel's government calls by its biblical names Judea and Samaria.

In a statement, Robert Serry, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said he was concerned by Israel's announcement regarding the Hebron holy site and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, another shrine Netanyahu wants to include in the heritage plan.

"I call on Israel not to take any steps on the ground which undermine trust or could prejudice negotiations, the resumption of which should be the highest shared priority of all who seek peace," Serry said.

Reuters

Last Mod: 23 Şubat 2010, 08:19
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