Some 100 Israeli soldiers today broke into the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs slammed the military intrusion into the site as “a very serious indication of the Israeli occupation authorities’ intention to impose total control over the site and turn it into a synagogue.”
Twenty six years ago, Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein broke into the Ibrahimi Mosque and opened fire at Palestinian Muslim worshippers, killing 29. Four Palestinians were killed on the same day in the clashes that broke out around the Mosque in response to the massacre.
In the aftermath, the mosque, known to Jews as Tomb of the Patriarchs, was divided in two, with the larger part turned into a synagogue while heavy scrutiny was imposed on the Palestinians and areas closed completely to them, including an important market and the main street, Shuhada street.
An estimated 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers live under the protection of thousands of soldiers in Hebron’s city center. The city is home to over 30,000 Palestinians.
Israel uses the Jewish nationalist name “Judea and Samaria” to refer to the occupied West Bank to reinforce its bogus claims to the territory and to give them a veneer of historical and religious legitimacy.
Such Israeli measures, taken under the guise of security, are intended to entrench Israel’s 54-year-old military occupation of the West Bank and its settler colonial project which it enforces with routine and frequently deadly violence against Palestinians.