RAMALLAH, Palestinian officials have condemned the decision of the Israeli occupation authorities to shut down the archaeological Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank, for 10 days under the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hefzi Abu Sneineh, the director of the mosque, told WAFA that Israel’s order will ban the entry of worshipers and visitors to the holy site for ten days under the pretext of the coronavirus restrictions.
He said Israel’s pretext was baseless since all worshipers and visitors have been following up the health and safety protocols of wearing face-masks and social distancing.
Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Habbash, advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas on religious affairs and Islamic relations, described Israel’s lockdown of the holy site as an inclusive war crime, saying that banning worshipers access to the site could fuel the sentiments of Muslims around the world.
He said the Israeli decision was also an interference into the powers of the Palestinian Waqf (Endowments) Department, which is in charge of holy sites in Palestine, as well as a breach of the UNESCO’s decision which considers the Ibrahimi Mosque as a pure Islamic site.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs described the Israeli move as a breach of the Palestinian sovereignty over the holy site that is aimed at transferring sovereignty there to the Israeli occupation authorities.
Husam Abul-Rob, Undersecretary of the Ministry, said the Ministry views the Israeli decision with suspicion since it comes in the aftermath of a series of Israeli violations against holy sites in Palestine, the latest of which was allowing Israeli fanatics escorted by army to perform a provocative tour of the Nabi Musa Mosque at Jerusalem-Jericho road.
Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA)