Israeli settlers damage, ransack Palestinian stores in Hebron’s Old City

Mohamed Hatem , Monday 20 Mar 2023

Israeli settlers burst into the Old City of Hebron on Monday as local sources reported seeing settlers breaking the doors and ransacking Palestinian stores using pickaxes and crow bars, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

File photo: The Old City is the site of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre which saw an Israeli settler open fire with an automatic weapon on Palestinian Muslims as they were praying inside the mosque. AFP


These stores are no longer accessible to their Palestinian owners having been closed by occupation authorities for 23 years.

They are located  in the Bab Al-Khan area, west of the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The Old City currently houses roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and 800 Israeli settlers who live in compounds heavily guarded by Israeli troops, according to WAFA.

Not so far away dozens of Israeli settlers broke into the compounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem, Islamic Waqf confirmed, taking provocative tours in its compounds while performing Talmudic rituals in the eastern part of the Mosque under heavy protection from Israeli police.

At the same time, Israeli forces hiked tensions and detained nine Palestinians from several areas in the occupied West Bank on Monday, WAFA reported.

In a separate incident Israeli forces sealed off Palestinian-owned stores in the village of Huwara, the epicenter of settler violence in the last weeks.

These events come after security officials from Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan and the United States met on Sunday in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh to support de-escalation between the Palestinians and Israel in what was deemed a follow-up meeting to the Aqaba summit in Jordan in February.

The five-way meeting aims at “backing dialogue between the two sides to work towards ending unilateral actions and escalation, breaking the cycle of violence and achieving calm,” the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

However, Islamist group Hamas, according to AFP, denounced efforts to calm tensions saying it "rejects the Sharm El-Sheikh conference and conferences that aim for calm," senior member Mussa Abu Marzouk said in a statement.

"Our choice... is to escalate the resistance in the face of the occupation", Abu Marzouk added.

In the same vein, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a joint statement reported by AFP that Israel "takes advantage of these security meetings to launch more aggression".

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine also demanded Palestinian representatives leave the talks.

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