Israel continuing to Judaize Ibrahimi Mosque, Palestinians say

The Palestinian Rehabilitation Committee raised the UNESCO flag next to the national Palestinian flag in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron-Al-Khalil (Hazem Bader - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 17, 2022

A Palestinian official warned yesterday that the Israeli army is continuing its attacks on the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron/Al-Khalil, with the aim of Judaizing it and changing its features, in order to serve illegal Jewish settlers.

The Director-General of the Hebron Endowments, Jamal Abu Aram, said in an interview with Anadolu Agency: “The Israeli army has installed an escalator that is longer and wider than a previous one that was removed.” This facilitates settler access “to a place located in the eastern corner of the mosque, where they perform religious rituals,” he explained.

In August 2021, Israel began construction work, including the erection of an elevator in the Ibrahimi Mosque, despite Palestinian objections.

Abu Aram stressed that “the new attacks come within the gradual Judaization of the mosque, changing its features and turning it into what looks like a synagogue to serve the settlers.”

He stressed that the new Israeli measures in the vicinity of the mosque, including the recent erection of a number of tents, “contravene all laws, as the mosque is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and therefore must be preserved.”

In July 2017, the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Ibrahimi Mosque a Palestinian heritage site.

Abu Aram also reported that Israeli excavations are continuing in the vicinity of the mosque, with the aim of constructing an elevator to serve settlers.

“We condemn what the occupation is doing by force of arms,” he added.

An eyewitness, journalist Amer al-Shaloudi, told Anadolu Agency that “the Israeli excavations are taking place about 150 metres from the Ibrahimi Mosque” adding that he had documented in photographs the seizure of ancient stones from the place and transferring them to an unknown destination”.

The Ibrahimi Mosque is located in the old city of Hebron/Al-Khalil, which is under Israel’s control. The mosque is believed to have been built on the tomb of the Prophet Ibrahim.