10 December 2018

A Palestinian youth group calling itself “Let’s Walk to the Haram” has launched an initiative in al-Khalil aimed at reviving its Old City and encouraging citizens to pray at the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Young men and women of different ages are participating in this initiative, and they organize tours to the Ibrahimi Mosque, pray collectively inside it and raise public awareness on the importance of visiting the holy site and protecting it against attempts to Judaize it by Jewish groups, settlers and their right-wing government.

The Palestinian group has urged the Palestinian citizens in al-Khalil and the West Bank to participate in the tours it organizes at the Mosque and not to fear any assaults and acts of bullying by Jewish settlers during their presence in the Old City and the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The Ibrahimi Mosque is being exposed to systematic Judaization and attempts by settlers to change its interior appearance in order to make it look like a synagogue and to gradually prevent Muslims from entering it.

According to PA Minister of Endowment, Youssef Ideis, Israeli authorities banned Palestinian mosque employees from playing the Muslim call to prayer through the speakers of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron 47 times in November alone.

Ideis stressed, “Israel has been using various means to harm the Ibrahimi Mosque and its worshipers in order to tighten their grip on the mosque as they have done with other mosques in Hebron’s Old City.”
He called on the international community to immediately intervene and provide protection to the holy sites, including the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Palestine has also called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Ibrahimi Mosque.

In a statement issued, the Palestinian foreign affairs ministry said Israeli settlers “erected a candlestick on the roof of the Ibrahimi mosque on Monday” during the celebration of the Jewish holiday Hannukah.

It also said the settlers invaded the mosque by “setting up tents inside it and performing Jewish rituals within it.”

“This systematic settlement escalation is disregarding the decisions of UNESCO, and it demands a stop to the targeting of archaeological and religious sites in Palestinian territories,” the statement added.

The UNESCO-affiliated World Heritage Committee in July 2017, declared the Ibrahimi mosque a Palestinian world heritage site.

The Israeli government prevented Ibrahimi Mosque from announcing Islam’s call for prayer 645 times in 2017.

Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial sites of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by Jewish extremist settler Baruch Goldstein, Israeli authorities divided the mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.

Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.

SOURCE: Palestine Information Center