The Israeli occupation forces in April prevented the calling for prayers in Hebron’s sacred Ibrahimi Mosque (also a holy site for Jews, Cave of Machpelah) 68 times.
The authority for religious endowments in Hebron revealed that the Israeli army officials prevented the mosque’s muezzin (prayer caller) from entering the room containing the microphones. The army used the excuse that the call disturbed Jewish settlers. The settlers control a third of the sacred site.
Palestinian families are subjected to insults from settlers as they make their way to pray in the mosque. Israeli forces protect the settlers and stop Palestinian worshipers from entering until all settlers have gone through to the Jewish chambers.
According to sources who spoke to Ahram Online, the Israeli army exploits incidents related to security as an excuse to block Palestinians from entering the site, whereas it always allows settlers entry.
The sources have pointed to the fact that settlers who pray there come from Jewish pockets in Hebron and from the settlement of Kiryat Arba, well known as a centre for Jewish extremism.
Israel had carved out a third of the sacred site for Jews after the massacre committed by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein against Muslim worshipers there on 5 February 1994. The attack during dawn prayers claimed the lives of 29 Palestinians and injured tens more.