The Palestinian cabinet held its weekly meeting in Hebron on Monday. According to cabinet secretary Dr. Naim Abu al-Humus, the meeting, held in the governor's building, is meant to strengthen the connection between the PA and the city, and demonstrate its importance to the Palestinians.
The secretary said it was decided to hold the meeting in the city in protest of the Israeli decision to include the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb in its national heritage site plan – a move which sparked clashes in the city in the past week.
The Palestinian legislative council in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas, also planned to hold a special meeting in protest of the Israeli plans, but the situation there is more complicated.
Hamas parliament speaker Dr. Aziz Duwaik, hoped to hold a joint meeting between parliament members in Gaza and in Ramallah via a video conference. Duwaik, who lives in Ramallah, has not conducted a parliament meeting since the Hamas takeover of the Strip and its de-facto separation from the West Bank in the summer of 2007.
But the Palestinian Authority announced that it would not allow Duwaik to enter the parliament compound in Ramallah to hold the meeting, claiming that the Hamas legislative council is not legal.
It seems that a meeting will be held in Gaza by the Hamas council members alone. At best, the movement may be able to secure the participation of elements from the Strip by selecting an alternative location.
Meanwhile, tensions around the Hebron matter have spread to Jerusalem, where riots broke out on Sunday. Clashes broke out following unfounded claims of the entrance of Jewish worshippers to the Temple Mount compound.
The clashes spread throughout the Old City, leaving four officers and at least 18 Arab worshippers injured.
The controversy around the holy sites continues to draw criticism in diplomatic ranks as well, and on Sunday Jordan's King Abdullah II joined the Palestinians' protest during a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and warned of "the dangerous consequences of provocative Israeli moves and acts of aggression against the al-Aqsa Mosque – moves with Jordan condemns."