IOF troops quell demonstration near the Ibrahimi Mosque

[ 05/03/2010 – 10:03 PM ]

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Seven Palestinians suffered breathing difficulties as IOF troops fired teargas at a peaceful demonstration near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern West Bank town of al-Khalil.

Local sources said that amongst the injured was PLC member Dr. Mustafa al-Barghouthi, and Najah University lecturer Dr. Saed Abu Hijleh, who received wounds to his face as he was hit with a stun grenade.

Dr. Hijleh was taken to hospital for treatment while others were treated at the scene.

Hundreds of worshipers came out of the Ibrahimi Mosque after the Friday prayers carrying a huge Palestinian flag, the IOF troops responded by firing live bullets, stun grenades and teargas.

A number of Palestinians travelled from different parts of the West Bank to al-Khalil to show solidarity with the Palestinians of al-Khalil who are suffering daily attacks by extremist Jewish settlers trying to force the Palestinians to abandon their homes. They also wanted to show solidarity for the Ibrahimi Mosque which has recently been included by the occupation government on the list of Jewish heritage sites.

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Israel’s new war on Islamic sites

Al-jezeera 

By Daud Abdullah

Palestinian protesters clashed with Israel forces over Tel Aviv’s decision to declare the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron a national heritage site for Jews [EPA]

In a move that appears to be a celebration of the 16th anniversary of the massacre of 29 worshippers by the terrorist Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli government has proclaimed that the Ibrahimi Mosque in Khalil (Hebron) and Masjid Bilal ibn Rabah (mosque) in Bethlehem are “Jewish Heritage sites”.

Goldstein, an American-born Israeli settler who served as a medic in the military, opened fire on worshippers at a mosque in Hebron on February 25, 1994, killing 29 and wounding more than 150, before being subdued and beaten to death.

The announcement by the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, though not surprising, is the latest in a series of Israeli attacks on Islamic historical and religious sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
It is consistent with the Israelis’ long-standing ambition to dispose of all non-Jewish religious symbols and presence in Palestine.

While the Israeli government was announcing the annexation of the Islamic sites, dozens of settlers attempted to storm into Jericho on the pretext that they were visiting an ancient synagogue.
Under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement of May 1994, Israel agreed to dissolve its civil administration and “transferred its powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority”.

Israel disinterested in peace

In his first reaction to the annexation of the Ibrahimi Mosque, Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, said: “This proves that Israel is not interested in peace and negotiations.”

The question is: when was Israel ever interested in such? When has it ever recognised the rights of the Palestinians? Israel’s founding fathers made no secret of the fact that they wanted all of historic Palestine, but without the Palestinians and all that is associated with their history.

Hence, David Ben Gurion recorded in his memoirs, The Revolt: “The partition of the Homeland [Israel] is illegal. It will never be recognised. The signature by institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.”

Everything that has happened in Palestine since 1948, and in Jerusalem and Hebron in particular over the past year, can be explained in the context of this statement.

Those who ignore it, not least the Arab and Muslim leadership, do so at their peril.

That having been said, the timing of these latest provocations against the Ibrahimi Mosque has not gone unnoticed.
The Israeli moves come at a time of huge embarrassment for the European patrons of the Zionist project, who saw their passports, among them diplomatic documents, being used illegally to carry out the murder of a Palestinian figure in Dubai, a “moderate” and thus by definition a friendly country.

Crude distraction?

Is Israel trying to divert global attention from the Mabhouh assassination? [AFP]

In as much as the announcement of the new “heritage sites” coincides with the anniversary of the Goldstein massacre, it has been pointedly described as a crude distraction away from the issue of the criminal responsibility for the Dubai murder and the discomfort it has caused many in Europe.

Observers have rightly noted that while the European Union maintains its proscription of Hamas as a “terrorist organisation”, they are yet to produce any evidence that the organisation has carried out a single military operation outside Occupied Palestine.

This is in stark contrast to the Israeli government, which threatens, attacks and occupies the lands of neighbouring countries, and assassinates its opponents in other sovereign nations.

Nevertheless, Israel continues to receive the patronage and support of the European Union.

If nothing else, the Zionists have surely perfected the art of gradualism, taking Palestinian territory inch by inch and brick by brick. Thus, when the Israeli government partitioned the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994 and took two-thirds of it for Jews, it was safe to assume that was not the end of the affair.

PA surrender

While many Palestinians hold the occupation authorities responsible for the escalating tensions and damage to the mosque, they are embittered equally with the Palestinian Authority (PA) for having surrendered the area adjoining the second most important mosque in all of historic Palestine, as part of the “Hebron Protocol” of 1996.

Today, the security agencies loyal to US General Keith Dayton, the US security coordinator between Israel and the Palestinians, and the PA prevent young people living in Hebron from going to the Ibrahimi Mosque to defend it against Jewish settlers.

With the greatest sense of foreboding they point out that today it is the Ibrahimi Mosque but tomorrow it could be Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest mosque in Islam, which is under serious threat.

Salih al-Razim, the imam of the Ibrahimi Mosque, recalls that during the last five years the occupation authorities have prevented systematically the call to prayer in the mosque, particularly the daily maghrib (sunset) prayer, and all prayers on Saturdays.

Typically, the occupiers’’claim that the mosque was being annexed because it was in a state of disrepair is disingenuous because they themselves have deliberately obstructed more than 90% of maintenance efforts by the mosque authorities. In effect, theirs is only a device to intervene and seize control of the mosque.

“Second Temple”

Since the Palestinians have maintained the Ibrahimi Mosque for more than one thousand years there is nothing preventing them from doing so today apart from the occupation authorities.

Meanwhile, in April 2009 the same authorities took a huge stone from the Khatouniyah Palace and embedded it in the square in front of the Knesset, claiming that this was a stone from the “Second Temple”.
Fakhri Abu Diyab, a member of the Council for the Defence of Real Estate in Silwan, reported that the Israeli operation was monitored and documented even though some of it took place in the early hours of the morning.

Several months later, in late December 2009, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage reported the theft of archaeological artifacts of historical importance from the Umayyad palaces in Al-Khatouniyah.

The stones in question were transported to the Ma’ale Adumim colony-settlement where some were off-loaded in a dump; other items were taken to warehouses run by the Israeli antiquities department in the Rockefeller Museum, ironically the former Palestine Archaeological Museum.

It is believed that the Islamic relics will be given cosmetic treatment and then reappear, miraculously, as “Jewish” relics. We know this because it’s not the first time that this has been done.

Mosque destruction

Scores of mosques were destroyed across Palestine in 1948 (as reported inter alia in Haaretz on July 6, 2009) and in the succeeding years as part of the deliberate policy to obliterate the Islamic identity of the country. Many were converted into museums, night clubs and restaurants.

The Great Mosque (Jaame’a al-Kabir) in Bir al-Saba’a (Beersheba) was used as a detention centre and subsequently as a court before it was abandoned.

The Afula Mosque was converted into a synagogue and Al-Qaysayrieh Mosque became a restaurant.
None of these acts will give legitimacy to the claims of the Zionist Occupation. The presence of the Palestinian population in Hebron and Jerusalem represent the greatest obstacle to the process of annexation and Judaisation.

This latest outrage could well signal the beginning of a new phase in the conflict – one that has the potential to resonate well beyond Palestine.

Daud Abdullah is the director of the Middle East Monitor– an independent media research institution founded in the United Kingdom to foster a fair and accurate coverage in the Western media of Middle Eastern issues and in particular the Palestine Question.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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Escalation Feared in Al-Khalil as Islamic Bloc Wants Action over Holy Sites Plan

Almanar

26/02/2010 The Islamic bloc at the United Nations on Thursday called for international action to force Israel to rescind its decision to renovate two holy sites in the occupied West Bank.

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) UN ambassadors, condemned the “illegality and illegitimacy” of the Israeli decision which they view as “null and void”.

They called on all relevant UN bodies “to take urgent, necessary measures to force Israel to rescind this decision” and urged the Security Council, the General Assembly and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “shoulder their responsibility”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparked outrage earlier this week when he said he hoped to include “Rachel’s Tomb” in Bethlehem and the “Tomb of the Patriarchs” in occupied Al-Khalil in a so-called “national heritage restoration plan”.

The two sites are revered by Jews and Muslims. The “Tomb of the Patriarchs” (as Jews call it), is the Sanctuary of Abraham (as Muslims call it) where Prophet Ibrahim peace be upon him is believed buried. The Tomb of Rachel (as Jews call it) is the Mosque of Bilal Bin Rabah (as Muslims call it) Prophet Mohammed’s (pbuh) Mou’azen.

Netanyahu was lambasted by the Israeli press Friday over his plans to renovate the two Muslim holy sites, with two papers warning he is playing with fire.

Three of Israel’s leading dailies accused the prime minister of pandering to the settler lobby and the far right.

Both Haaretz and Yediot Aharonot carried cartoons of Netanyahu with a box of matches, indicating how provocative they saw his proposals to be.

Haaretz dubbed the Israeli prime minister a “master pyromaniac” for the move, which has infuriated the Muslim world and drawn criticism from the wider international community.

The paper recalled that it was Netanyahu who during a previous term as premier in 1996 sparked bloody riots in occupied Jerusalem by ordering the opening of a tunnel under the Al-Asqa mosque compound.

The paper said that the two sites deserved to be preserved as part of Jewish as well as Muslim heritage but asked whether it was really necessary to “open such a Pandora’s box at a time when the world is looking for a resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Netanyahu has shown once again that he is incapable of standing up to pressure,” it added, recalling that the two sites were not included on a preliminary list of heritage sites.

The rightwing Maariv newspaper was also critical, accusing the prime minister of “having learnt nothing from the past.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian protests in occupied Al-Khalil in the wake of Israel’s decision to include the two holy sites in its heritage sites list may get out of control, Palestinian Authority officials warned Thursday night. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad prayed at the Abraham Mosque in Al-Khalil town on Friday amid a fifth straight day of clashes in the West Bank town.

The Palestinian organizations declared a day of popular protest across the territories, particularly in Bethlehem and Al-Khalil. The Muslims are also marking the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and the 16th anniversary of the Baruch Goldstein massacre at the holy Abraham Mosque, which left 29 Palestinians killed. The combination of events may lead to an escalation, but PA officials stressed that the struggle would be popular and non-violent.

Meanwhile, a senior Fatah figure in Al-Khalil accused Israel of attempting to ruin all the efforts to resume the diplomatic process.

In a conversation with Ynet, Palestinian Parliamentarian Abu-Ali Yatta said that designating the Cave of the Patriarchs as a heritage site is an Israeli attempt to divert attention from domestic problems and the pressure exerted on occupied Jerusalem to renew peace talks.

“It’s typical for the Israelis, every time the need to renew negotiations is brought up, to produce a crisis in order to divert the pressure and attention,” he said. “”One time it’s the Iranian nuclear program, another time it’s the question of these sites, and all of it is aimed at buying time and evading international pressure to resolve the conflict through the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Around 100 Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in Al-Khalil on Thursday in a fourth straight day of angry protests over the proposed listings, which even Israel’s US ally has criticized as “provocative.”

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The IAF calls for the expulsion of Israeli ambassador

PIC

[ 26/02/2010 – 11:13 AM ]
AMMAN, (PIC)– The Jordanian Islamic Action Front (IAF) called on the Jordanian government to stop normalization with Israel, expel the Israeli ambassador and allow popular rallies in support of the Aqsa Mosque, the Ibrahimi Mosque and other Islamic holy places being “subjected to Zionist naked aggression.”

The official in charge of the Palestinian file in the IAF’s executive, Hassan Dhuneibat, said in a statement on Thursday: “we appreciate the [Jordanian] government’s denunciation of the Zionist entity’s decision to add the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Bilal Mosque to the list of Jewish heritage, but we hope that the government starts practical deterrent steps such as the expulsion of the Zionist ambassador from Amman, halting normalisation and allowing public solidarity with our people there.”

Dhuneibat warned that the Israeli practices have reached the peak of provocation and challenge to feelings of the Arabs and Muslims and called for confronting such Israeli transgressions.

He pointed out that silence towards the Judaization of the Ibrahimi and Bilal mosques will encourage Israel to Judaize the Aqsa Mosque, which is definitely on the Israeli agenda.

He called on Arab rulers to take the Israeli steps seriously pointing out that the Arab public are very angry and are running out of patience.

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Four decades of occupation in Hebron

Live from Palestine,

Iris Keltz writing from the United States, Live from Palestine, 25 February 2010

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The ancient city of Hebron has been devastated by the Israeli occupation. (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

I have been to Hebron three times, but each visit was like entering a different city. In May of 1967, the entire West Bank including Hebron was under Jordanian rule. A Palestinian family living in Jerusalem had invited me to visit their village south of Hebron, where they owned acres of land with olive trees they’d planted themselves. Al-Samu village’s main connection to the world was a bus running twice a day to Hebron, 23 miles south of Jerusalem. It was an easy trip that took about an hour.

Donkeys and camels shared the road with cars and buses. Unlike Jerusalem, few tourists wandered the streets in search of holy shrines and trinkets. A blend of traditional and modern was most common. The father of the family, Ibrahim, wore cotton trousers, a shirt and shaded his head with a traditional kuffiyeh, like most men. His wife was in an ankle-length cotton dress with a scarf covering her silver hair.

There were no soldiers to protect or threaten us, but we felt perfectly safe as we walked past the mosque where Abraham, the prophet for both Jews and Muslims, lay buried with his wife Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah. A fortress-like structure that started out as a synagogue built during the time of King Herod and which became a mosque during the Islamic period, 700 AD protected their resting place. On this lovely summer day, the family was far more interested in catching the bus to al-Samu than in entering the mosque — even Ibrahim’s wife, who prayed five times a day in the privacy of their home.

Ibrahim bought camel kabob sandwiches for everyone from a roadside stand. However, the unique taste of this delicacy was disguised by exotic spices. While eating, Ibrahim hinted at Hebron’s violent history, of which I knew almost nothing. “Once there was a community of religious Jews living here when the British ruled Palestine. Now the people are suspicious of outsiders.” But I was not worried. They knew I was a Jewish American and welcomed me like long-lost family. We had no idea that in a few weeks, a war would break out that would change our lives forever.

When I returned in 1998, barbed wire walls and concrete barricades sliced Hebron into areas of control. The holy shrine was divided as was the city. Each side of the Ibrahimi Mosque/Avraham Avinu Synagogue had separate entrances and security checks. We were frisked and searched by Israeli soldiers before being allowed to enter each side. Israelis started moving to Hebron after the military conquest of the West Bank in 1967. At first, Muslims and Jews prayed together in the Holy Shrine for the first time in 19 years. All this changed on 25 February 1994 during the month of Ramadan, when a Jewish settler entered the Ibrahimi Mosque and killed 29 Muslims. After this tragedy, the Israeli government imposed a curfew and closed Shehada Street — Hebron’s main commercial and cultural thoroughfare — to Palestinians. The settlers, however, were allowed to travel freely — an unwise and unfair decision that bred anger and resentment in the Palestinian community. Two suicide bombings in retaliation for the massacre fed the cycle of violence. The Jews and Muslims of Hebron have never prayed together since.

Our local guide was part of the Christian Peacemakers Teams (CPT), an international group invited here by the mayor of Hebron after the massacre. Being in their presence made us feel safer, in spite of the fact that they were unarmed as we walked through run-down neighborhoods where local Palestinians complained of army outposts built on rooftops. Godlike, the soldiers watched the inhabitants below forced to string netting across courtyards to protect themselves from falling debris, but there was no protection from urine.

In spite of this, Hebron pulsed with life. I walked past the carpenters, leather workers and saddle-maker shops and stop to watch a blacksmith laboring in front of a fiery forge, transforming iron rods into window grills, architectural ornamentation and utensils. Further down the street, flying feathers and clucking chickens announced a stall where eggs were sold still warm. Racks of clothing with American logos hung alongside bedouin dresses, piles of scarves, kuffiyehs, shawls, shoes, cases of jewelry, hand-blown glassware, olive wood carvings and more. Shoppers walked amidst well-armed soldiers while old men played backgammon in front of a cafe that kept them supplied with Turkish coffee, tea and smoking tobacco for the water pipe.

Disappointingly, I never made it to al-Samu. Armed soldiers, checkpoints and roadblocks, made the simple trip an ordeal. I was told by the Palestinian family that the village was now beset with pollution, traffic jams and overcrowding. But I had wanted to see this change for myself.

Nearly ten years later, of all the places I visited in 2007, Hebron had changed the most. The CPT was still there. What started as a temporary project became permanent as the occupation worsened. A local CPT guide escorted us along Shehada Street — open to settlers, soldiers and internationals, but still forbidden to Palestinians. Once a thriving hub for surrounding villages, the main commercial thoroughfare was eerily quiet. A Jewish settlement in the heart of Hebron transformed the city into a ghost town. Six hundred Jewish settlers guarded by 500 Israeli soldiers restrict the movement of 160,000 Palestinians. Shops were boarded. The front doors of Palestinian homes — padlocked and welded shut by the Israeli government — were covered with hateful graffiti: “Arabs to the Gas Chambers,” “Transfer Arabs” and more. Gone were the old men who sat around tables in front of cafes playing backgammon in the sun while drinking Turkish coffee.

There was a tense moment when we passed a Palestinian home recently occupied by Israeli settlers. “I will speak to the soldiers if we are stopped,” warned our CPT guide, a woman from the Netherlands. “The army wants to make Shehada Street safe for Jews going between their settlement and the synagogue. The Israeli government has ordered the settlers to evacuate, but they are fixing the house, determined to remain.” There is a serious rift between Israeli law and the implementation of the law. Subsidized by the government, the settlers in Hebron are ideological extremists, convinced that what they are doing has been ordained by God.

International law affords all children the right to attend school, including Palestinian children who are frequently spit upon by stone-throwing settler children, even when accompanied by a CPT guide. Soldiers watch but do nothing. Members of the Israeli Knesset have visited Hebron but nothing changed. Because of this, Palestinian children walk to school along rooftops and re-enter the street through a house near the school — “the ladder lady’s house,” they call it. Our guide told us that the children’s favorite game was to play soldier. They understood that whoever had the big guns had the power.

On Friday afternoons, the Muslim Sabbath, the CPT watched people coming and going for noon prayers. Israeli soldiers guarded the entrance to the mosque. Young Arab men were especially targeted and sometimes held for hours. I could not understand why our trusted Palestinian guide told the soldiers I was Jewish and following orders, they forbade me from entering the mosque. For the first time in my life, I was denied access to a place based on religion. With a sense of entitlement, I waved my American passport at the soldiers — to no avail. Forced to accept their edict, I waited in the shade of nearby building on the Palestinian side of a concrete barrier that blocked the road leading to the mosque. A few friends stood in solidarity with me.

When our group re-gathered, we headed towards a checkpoint leading to Palestinian Authority-controlled Hebron. Single file, we walked through a turnstile inside a cage surrounded by barbed wire. An American passport got us through the checkpoint with ease but our Palestinian bus driver and guide were forbidden. However, they knew how to sneak around the barricade, which is what they did. I could not understand why Palestinians were forbidden to enter Palestinian-controlled areas. Upon refection, I understand that our guide was giving us personal lessons about the humiliation and arbitrary nature of occupation.

On the other side of the checkpoint there was life, movement, shops, an open market, Palestinian soldiers and people begging us to buy something. “Please help us to survive. We are merchants. Please buy something.” The crippled owner of the Resistance Cafe welcomed us with the dignity of an unspoken leader. He limped around serving falafel and cold bottled water. When his work was done, he sat down at one of the tables and told us about himself. “This cafe is a symbol of the struggle to maintain Palestinian life in Hebron. Most Palestinians have made a commitment to stay, no matter what. We would rather die in our homes than walk away like many did in 1948. My greatest act of resistance is to keep this cafe open.” That commitment comes with a high price. He has been held and tortured in an Israeli prison. Knowing all this, eating the falafel made me feel part of the resistance.

Today marks 16 years since the massacre in the Ibrahimi mosque. Shuhada Street has become a symbol for the Israeli settlements on the West Bank and the occupation at large. It is crucial that activists support efforts on the ground to open this street to Palestinian commerce and life once again and global solidarity is being organized at www.openshuhadastreet.org. The occupation is made possible by the $30 billion aid from the US. US activists must let their congressional representatives know how we would rather spend our dollars.

Iris Keltz is an activist and author of Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie, a social history of the counterculture in northern New Mexico in the early 1970s. This article is excerpted from a manuscript about her experience of living with a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem during the 1967 War and subsequent visits. She can be reached at irisk13 A T earthlink D O T net.

“Israel’s” new war on Islamic sites

Via Silver Lining

Posted on February 25, 2010 by realistic bird

Inside Ibrahimi masjid, Al Khalil, Palestine

By Daud Abdullah, February 25, 2010, source

In a move that appears to be a celebration of the 16th anniversary of the massacre of 29 worshippers by the terrorist Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli government has proclaimed that the Ibrahimi Mosque in Khalil (Hebron) and Masjid Bilal ibn Rabah (mosque) in Bethlehem are “Jewish Heritage sites”.

Goldstein, an American-born Israeli settler who served as a medic in the military, opened fire on worshippers at a mosque in Hebron on February 25, 1994, killing 29 and wounding more than 150, before being subdued and beaten to death.

The announcement by the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, though not surprising, is the latest in a series of Israeli attacks on Islamic historical and religious sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
It is consistent with the Israelis’ long-standing ambition to dispose of all non-Jewish religious symbols and presence in Palestine.

While the Israeli government was announcing the annexation of the Islamic sites, dozens of settlers attempted to storm into Jericho on the pretext that they were visiting an ancient synagogue.
Under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement of May 1994, Israel agreed to dissolve its civil administration and “transferred its powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority”.

“Israel” disinterested in peace

In his first reaction to the annexation of the Ibrahimi Mosque, Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, said: “This proves that Israel is not interested in peace and negotiations.”

The question is: when was Israel ever interested in such? When has it ever recognised the rights of the Palestinians? Israel’s founding fathers made no secret of the fact that they wanted all of historic Palestine, but without the Palestinians and all that is associated with their history.

Hence, David Ben Gurion recorded in his memoirs, The Revolt: “The partition of the Homeland [Israel] is illegal. It will never be recognised. The signature by institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.”

Everything that has happened in Palestine since 1948, and in Jerusalem and Hebron in particular over the past year, can be explained in the context of this statement.

Those who ignore it, not least the Arab and Muslim leadership, do so at their peril.

That having been said, the timing of these latest provocations against the Ibrahimi Mosque has not gone unnoticed.

The Israeli moves come at a time of huge embarrassment for the European patrons of the Zionist project, who saw their passports, among them diplomatic documents, being used illegally to carry out the murder of a Palestinian figure in Dubai, a “moderate” and thus by definition a friendly country.

Crude distraction?

In as much as the announcement of the new “heritage sites” coincides with the anniversary of the Goldstein massacre, it has been pointedly described as a crude distraction away from the issue of the criminal responsibility for the Dubai murder and the discomfort it has caused many in Europe.

Observers have rightly noted that while the European Union maintains its proscription of Hamas as a “terrorist organisation”, they are yet to produce any evidence that the organisation has carried out a single military operation outside Occupied Palestine.

This is in stark contrast to the Israeli government, which threatens, attacks and occupies the lands of neighbouring countries, and assassinates its opponents in other sovereign nations.

Nevertheless, Israel continues to receive the patronage and support of the European Union.

If nothing else, the Zionists have surely perfected the art of gradualism, taking Palestinian territory inch by inch and brick by brick. Thus, when the Israeli government partitioned the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994 and took two-thirds of it for Jews, it was safe to assume that was not the end of the affair.

PA surrender

While many Palestinians hold the occupation authorities responsible for the escalating tensions and damage to the mosque, they are embittered equally with the Palestinian Authority (PA) for having surrendered the area adjoining the second most important mosque in all of historic Palestine, as part of the “Hebron Protocol” of 1996.

Today, the security agencies loyal to US General Keith Dayton, the US security coordinator between Israel and the Palestinians, and the PA prevent young people living in Hebron from going to the Ibrahimi Mosque to defend it against Jewish settlers.

With the greatest sense of foreboding they point out that today it is the Ibrahimi Mosque but tomorrow it could be Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest mosque in Islam, which is under serious threat.

Salih al-Razim, the imam of the Ibrahimi Mosque, recalls that during the last five years the occupation authorities have prevented systematically the call to prayer in the mosque, particularly the daily maghrib (sunset) prayer, and all prayers on Saturdays.

Typically, the occupiers’’claim that the mosque was being annexed because it was in a state of disrepair is disingenuous because they themselves have deliberately obstructed more than 90% of maintenance efforts by the mosque authorities. In effect, theirs is only a device to intervene and seize control of the mosque.

“Second Temple”

Since the Palestinians have maintained the Ibrahimi Mosque for more than one thousand years there is nothing preventing them from doing so today apart from the occupation authorities.

Meanwhile, in April 2009 the same authorities took a huge stone from the Khatouniyah Palace and embedded it in the square in front of the Knesset, claiming that this was a stone from the “Second Temple”.

Fakhri Abu Diyab, a member of the Council for the Defence of Real Estate in Silwan, reported that the Israeli operation was monitored and documented even though some of it took place in the early hours of the morning.

Several months later, in late December 2009, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage reported the theft of archaeological artifacts of historical importance from the Umayyad palaces in Al-Khatouniyah.
The stones in question were transported to the Ma’ale Adumim colony-settlement where some were off-loaded in a dump; other items were taken to warehouses run by the Israeli antiquities department in the Rockefeller Museum, ironically the former Palestine Archaeological Museum.

It is believed that the Islamic relics will be given cosmetic treatment and then reappear, miraculously, as “Jewish” relics. We know this because it’s not the first time that this has been done.

Mosque destruction

Scores of mosques were destroyed across Palestine in 1948 (as reported inter alia in Haaretz on July 6, 2009) and in the succeeding years as part of the deliberate policy to obliterate the Islamic identity of the country. Many were converted into museums, night clubs and restaurants.

The Great Mosque (Jaame’a al-Kabir) in Bir al-Saba’a (Beersheba) was used as a detention centre and subsequently as a court before it was abandoned.

The Afula Mosque was converted into a synagogue and Al-Qaysayrieh Mosque became a restaurant.
None of these acts will give legitimacy to the claims of the Zionist Occupation. The presence of the Palestinian population in Hebron and Jerusalem represent the greatest obstacle to the process of annexation and Judaisation.

This latest outrage could well signal the beginning of a new phase in the conflict – one that has the potential to resonate well beyond Palestine.

Daud Abdullah is the director of the Middle East Monitor, an independent media research institution founded in the United Kingdom to foster a fair and accurate coverage in the Western media of Middle Eastern issues and in particular the Palestine Question.

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Israel ‘stole Palestinian heritage’

Via This is Zionism

and Organs… and land… and… and…

Furious Palestinians have clashed with Israeli soldiers and accused Israel of “cultural genocide” after the country’s government claimed a sacred tomb in the occupied West Bank as a national heritage site.

The burial site of the biblical patriarch Abraham, which is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, is located in Hebron, which was yesterday shut down by a general strike in protest at the move as Israeli troops clashed with local youths. One soldier was reported lightly wounded as Palestinians threw stones and bottles and troops fired tear gas and stun grenades. Israel has also placed the believed tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel, in occupied territory in Bethlehem, on the heritage list.

Palestinian MP Hanan Ashrawi, a secular nationalist and former spokeswoman for peace negotiators, said that Israel’s move “completes a whole programme of theft”.

“It’s stealing the land, stealing our resources and now our cultural and historical heritage,” she said. “It points to a mentality of cultural genocide. It’s been a mosque and been sacred to Palestinian Muslims for centuries. They have to respect that.”

Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib termed the Israeli move “very dangerous”, saying it would reinforce the religious dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the heritage sites are no less important than the Israeli army because they comprise part of the “national emotion”. Mark Regev, spokesman for Mr Netanyahu, called Ms Ashrawi’s comments “extremist”. “As an Israeli I respect that Muslims have a special connection to the Cave of the Patriarchs,” he said. “But I am entitled to ask that they respect the Jewish connection to the same site.”

On Sunday, at the behest of Jewish settlers, Mr Netanyahu included the West Bank sites on a list of 150 national heritage areas after at first having refrained from doing so, apparently in the knowledge it would raise tensions with Palestinians. The UN’s special co-ordinator to the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, condemned the move yesterday.

The Hebron tombs, known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs, are the believed burial site of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and three of their wives. Muslims also revere Abraham, terming the site the Ibrahimi Mosque and Abraham “the companion of God”. After capturing the site from Jordan in the 1967 war, Israel began allowing Jews to pray inside its chambers and later supported Jewish settlement in its proximity. Muslims fear that Israel intends to change it into an all-Jewish site.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-stole-palestinian-heritage-1907397.html

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