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Cave of Patriarchs. Multi-religion renovation Photo: AP
Cave of Patriarchs. Multi-religion renovation Photo: AP
Netanyahu. Promises freedom of ritual Photo: AFP
Netanyahu. Promises freedom of ritual Photo: AFP

PM: We're renovating for Muslims as well

Netanyahu attempts to ease tensions following row sparked by decision to include West Bank sites in national heritage sites list, another day of riots in Hebron

Roni Sofer
Published: 02.24.10, 19:51 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday reiterated Israel's commitment to the freedom of ritual of members of all religions in all holy sites.


According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu said that "this policy is implemented in the Cave of the Patriarchs as well, where the State is working constantly to guarantee appropriate prayer conditions for Jews and Muslims."


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According to Netanyahu, "Proof can be found in the renovation work being completed these days in the entrance plaza and on the path leading to the Muslims' prayer hall on the site."


The prime minister stressed that "any other claim is an artificial attempt to distort reality and evoke a dispute."


The prime minister's remarks were made several hours after clashes broke out in Hebron for the third day in a row, in protest of the decision to include the Cave of the Patriarchs in the list of national heritage sites.


Dozens of Palestinians hurled stones at the security forces and set fire to tires. The security forces responded with crowd dispersal means.


President Shimon Peres attempted to ease the tensions on Wednesday, saying that there is no need to create artificial conflicts and that Israel would continue to grant full freedom of worship to all worshippers and believers at the holy sites.


Peres made the statement during a meeting in Jerusalem with UN envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry.


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