Israel closes off Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims and Palestinians

The Gaza Post | The News of Palestine – Hebron

Israeli authorities have decided to shut down the Ibrahimi Mosque depriving Muslim worshipers, and all other non-Jews from entering the mosque.

The mosque, situated in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron will be closed off for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Only Jews will have access to the area, Maan News Agency reported.

The director of the mosque, Hafzi Abu Sneneh, said on Sunday he was told that the holy site would be shut down to Muslim worshipers from 10pm on Sunday until Tuesday night.

Muslims will not be allowed to make the call for prayer during this period, Abu Sneneh added, when he spoke to Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official news agency Wafa News.

Palestinians have endured several restrictions imposed on them by the Israeli army due to the Sukkot holiday.

Last week, it was reported that the Israeli army will close crossing points from the Palestinian territories for 11 days during the Jewish festival of Sukkot, which is currently being celebrated.

The closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip – a measure frequently taken for major Jewish holidays – is currently running with only emergency cases allowed past the Palestinian lock up.

In 1997, an agreement between late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanayhu divided Hebron into two parts – H1 under the control of the PA, and H2 under Israeli control.

Years earlier in 1994, US-born Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein entered the Ibrahimi Mosque and massacred 29 Palestinians who were praying at the holy site.

Both Jews and Muslims revere the same site in Hebron as the traditional burial place of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs – Jews call it the Tomb of the Patriarchs, while for Muslims it is the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Over 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Source: The New Arab

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