Israel builds Jewish-only elevator at Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque
Imad Hamdan, director of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, told the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, WAFA, that the decision aimed to exclude the holy site's Muslim heritage, branding it as “Judaization.”
He said that while Israel claims that the purpose of the elevator is to make the site more accessible, the real intention was to take over as much of the area as possible in the courtyard of the mosque for the use of Israeli settlers.
Last May, former Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, issued an expropriation order for a part of the Ibrahimi Mosque as part of a project to build the elevator, in order to facilitate settlers' access to the Muslim house of worship.
The Palestinian municipal authorities in Hebron have consistently demanded that the project be stopped because the construction will be on land they own jointly with the Waqf (Religious Endowment) Islamic Trust.
The Ibrahimi Mosque is also known as the Tomb of Patriarchs.
The centre of Hebron is an exceptionally hostile environment for Palestinians due to the presence of around 800 ultra-nationalist settlers there, many of whom are armed. Its Palestinian residents live under constant fear of Israeli aggression.
Israeli settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories by attacking civilians, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and engaging in other forms of violence.
Hebron is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank and most of it is under Palestinian Authority rule. However, the old centre of the city, which includes the Ibrahimi Mosque, remains under Israeli military control. There are twice as many Israeli soldiers in the city as there are settlers.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.
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