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Like the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque is also under threat

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Not a day goes by without another Israeli attack on various aspects of Palestinian life, be it through home demolitions, land confiscations, the abduction of youngsters in the night or attacks on their holy places. A good source of factual information about Israel’s attacks is the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA’s most recent protection of civilians report shows that in the period 1-14 October, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, 509 were injured, 12 Palestinian structures were demolished, and 191 “search and arrest” operations were carried out in the occupied West Bank. This is what the occupation looks and feels like for Palestinians during what was a relatively quiet period.

Although OCHA does not document Israeli attacks on Palestinian holy sites specifically, two of these have been under attack for many years. The Ibrahimi Mosque is in Hebron and is also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs; it sits in the centre of the city which has been taken over by the Israeli occupation authorities, which now control access to the mosque. The local Palestinians resisted attempts by illegal settlers planted in the city after the 1967 war to control the mosque. The occupation authorities, though, took actual control of the site after a Jewish terrorist-settler massacred 29 Muslim worshippers on 25 February 1994 before he was overpowered and killed.

The Israeli authorities then closed the mosque and divided it into an area for Muslims and another for Jews. On the days of Jewish or Muslim festivals, the authorities only allow Jews or Muslims to pray in the mosque.

READ: UNESCO calls on Israel to stop violations in Jerusalem

The division of the mosque was a unilateral act by Israel, which also regularly bans the Muslim call for prayer, following complaints from illegal settlers that it disturbs them. On average, Israel bans the call around 50 times per month.

Israel controls access to the mosque through checkpoints that also restrict their movement of Palestinians between the different parts........

© Middle East Monitor