Riots Over Israeli Claim to West Bank Heritage Sites

In-depth Report:

Israeli soldiers have clashed with protesters in the West Bank town of Hebron after two disputed shrines were listed as Israeli heritage sites.

Palestinian protesters threw bottles and stones at soldiers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

The protesters say the move to list the shrines as heritage sites would restrict Muslims access to them, but this has been denied.

The Hebron shrine is an important site for both Jews and Muslims.

The rioting was the most serious unrest in the area for months, the Associated Press reported.

The Israeli military said one soldier was lightly injured in the clashes.

Restoration plan

On Sunday Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Tomb of the Patriarchs, known to Muslims as the al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, and the site of Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem would now be included in a $107m (£69m) restoration plan.

About 100 protesters clashed with soldiers, a military spokeswoman said.

Many of the rioters were students from a school in the southern part of the city.

“The occupation has devoted all of its efforts to steal Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, Hebron and Palestinian cities to change their Arab and Islamic character to prove the country is Jewish,” the Palestinian Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein told the Palestinian Maan news agency.

Jordan condemned what it called Israel’s “provocative” plan to include the sites, saying it would “harm peace efforts” and “anger millions of Muslims around the world”, AFP reported.

The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, said he was “concerned” about Israel’s announcement, and called for “restraint and calm”.

The Hebron burial site is where the Bible says Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried along with three of their wives.

It has been a flashpoint for decades, with 500 Jewish settlers now living in enclaves near the disputed site, surrounded by 170,000 Palestinians.

The Tomb of Rachel – a shrine to the Biblical matriarch – has also been a source of controversy.

Some Muslims say it is the site of a mosque.

Also, Israel’s West Bank barrier juts far into Bethlehem so that the tomb is located on the Israeli side, ostensibly for security reasons.

However, Palestinians say it impedes their access and represents a land grab illegal under international law.

Close to 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem.

The settlements are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Articles by: Global Research

Related Global Research Articles:

  • Is Political Zionism Another Form of Ideological Fundamentalism?Is Political Zionism Another Form of Ideological Fundamentalism?

    The Political Zionist doctrine of the Netanyahu government that claims the whole of former Palestine as being a 'gift from God' is essentially ideological fundamentalism i.e. a ritualistic reading of scripture and a reliance upon dogma - a position also known as 'extremism'. It is […]
  • Israel Moves Quickly to Exploit Paris AttacksIsrael Moves Quickly to Exploit Paris Attacks

    After hesitations reportedly over cost and security, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally decided to attend the “solidarity” march in Paris on Sunday, ostensibly in support of “free expression” and other “Western values.” The march had been called in the wake of the […]
  • Israeli Attack on Gaza Was “Massive State Terror”: Former UN Official Richard FalkIsraeli Attack on Gaza Was “Massive State Terror”: Former UN Official Richard Falk

    As a brutal winter storm hits Gaza, where tens of thousands of Palestinians remain without proper shelter after Israel’s summer attacks, a former United Nations official warns of a “humanitarian emergency of the highest order.” “The evidence seems overwhelming as to the commission of […]

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Center of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author's copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: [email protected] contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: [email protected]