Hebron resident detained
Photo: AFP

Palestinians protest against Cave of Patriarchs heritage decision

Hebron riots continue on heels of cabinet's decision to designate two West Bank shrines as Israeli national heritage sites; dozens of Palestinian children clash with security forces; two lightly hurt

A few dozen Palestinians school children protested on Thursday near the Cave of Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron against an Israeli government decision to declare it a heritage site.


Protestors torched tires and threw stones at security forces, who responded with riot dispersal means, including tear gas and stun grenades. Palestinian sources said two protestors were lightly injured in the clashes, and four others were arrested.


The Palestinian Authority leveled harsh criticism at Israel's decision to include the Cave of Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb on the list of national heritage sites, and it is estimated that the demonstrations will continue in the coming days.


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


School children in Hebron (Photo: Reuters) 


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 suitable prayer conditions for Jews and Muslims."


Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel's decision was "a serious provocation which may lead to a religious war."


The Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, presented an even firmer stand. He called on the Palestinians to launch a new intifada in protest of the decision to add the two places to the heritage sites list.


Haniyeh said the Israeli move was a show of complete disrespect towards the Palestinian negotiations team. "This move disrespects anyone seeking to keep the framework of the diplomatic settlement. Israel is implementing a plan spreading from Jerusalem to Hebron and Gaza, from Jaffa to Lod and Ramla, and all this on the backdrop of vague negotiations."


Ali Waked contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 02.25.10, 14:26
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