The Palestinian presidency on Friday warned that recent aggression by Jewish settlers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) could "transform the current conflict from a political to a religious one."
"Recent settler incursions into the mosque and the performance of Talmudic rituals inside provoke the sentiments of Muslims worldwide," the presidency said in a statement carried by Palestine's Wafa news agency, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA).
In its statement, the presidency holds the Israeli government accountable for "this aggressive behavior and all of its consequences, especially given that [Israel's] so-called internal security minister was directly involved in these acts."
On Thursday evening, dozens of Jewish settlers, backed by Israeli police, forced their way into the mosque, where they performed Talmudic rituals and held a music concert attended by senior Jewish rabbis and Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Arad. Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial site of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshipers inside the mosque by Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli authorities partitioned the mosque compound into Muslim and Jewish areas.
Hebron is home to some 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers, with the latter living in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.
Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014. The international community regards all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote. Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.
Palestinians have long argued that Israeli settlements could deny them a viable and contiguous state. Israeli watchdog group Peace Now reported earlier this year that settlement construction has surged under the Trump administration, which has taken a softer stance than his predecessors. According to a report issued by the group earlier in March, construction began on 2,783 new housing units on the occupied West Bank in 2017, a 17-percent increase from the yearly average since 2009.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.