Israel to deny Muslim worshipers entry to Ibrahimi Mosque for Passover
Published Monday 14/04/2014 (updated) 14/04/2014 22:10
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces will deny Muslim worshipers access to Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque during Passover on Wednesday and Thursday, a Palestinian official said.
Sheikh Taysir Abu Sheinah, the director of the Hebron office of the Palestinian ministry of endowment, told Ma'an that the decision was a "breach of freedom of religion and a continuation of the (Israeli) occupation's policy to Judaize the Ibrahimi Mosque."
An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the closure, saying that the holy site is regularly closed to Muslims on Jewish holidays "and on Muslim holidays it is closed for Jews."
"It's nothing unusual," she said.
A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Cave of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law. 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.