BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The governor of the Bethlehem district said Sunday that Israeli military commanders were not welcome to visit the area, after he received a request for military officials to visit Bethlehem while off duty.
Abd al-Fattah Hamayil said in a statement that "the chief of the occupation army's central command" along with other military officials requested to visit Bethlehem in plain clothes, without providing further details.
The officials are unwelcome, Hamayil said, because of the "occupation's ongoing atrocities" against the city.
He cited the Israeli army's raid of central Bethlehem
on Thursday as an example, saying Israeli soldiers "savagely destroyed dozens of stores in the city."
"If the Israeli occupation's leaders and commanders want to visit Bethlehem, they have to enter the city in military tanks and armored vehicles."
An Israeli army spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.
Bethlehem is located in Area A, the less than 20 percent of the West Bank that is under Palestinian civil and military control according to the Oslo Accords.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.