Director of the Ibrahimi Mosque Sheikh Hafthi Abu Sneinah told WAFA news agency that Israeli forces prevented the staff of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee from carrying out maintenance works for the archeological Ibrahimi Mosque, including wall painting, stone cleaning using earthen plaster, besides to cleaning historical Islamic inscriptions, purportedly for lacking the necessary permit from the competent authorities.
He affirmed that carrying out restoration works inside the holy site is part of the Palestinian Ministry of Islamic Waqf and Religious Affairs’ mandate and slammed the prevention of the restorations are part of the Israeli occupation authorities’ attempts to impose their control on the site.
Twenty-two 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.
The city of Hebron, which houses the Ibrahimi Mosque, is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers who live in compounds heavily guarded by Israeli troops.
Israel has expelled the only international monitors protecting Hebron’s Palestinians from 800 heavily guarded settlers, one of whom committed the 1994 massacre that triggered their deployment.
Such Israeli measures, taken under the guise of security, are intended to entrench Israel’s 53-year-old military occupation of the West Bank and its settler colonial project which it enforces with routine and frequently deadly violence against Palestinians.