The Israeli occupation authorities prevented the call to prayer from being made at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque 86 times last month, a Palestinian Authority report has revealed. The PA said that the excuse given was that the call to prayer “annoyed” illegal Jewish settlers during holiday periods.
The Israeli occupation authorities “ignore the feelings of the Muslims and well as international laws and conventions which guarantee the protection of holy sites and free access to them,” explained the PA.
The Ibrahimi Mosque was divided into two parts after a US-born Jewish settler entered the prayer hall at dawn on Friday, 25 February 1994 and shot dead 29 Palestinians and wounded 150 others while they were praying. In the wake of the murderous attack, the mosque was closed to Muslim worshippers and turned into an Israeli military base. According to official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Israeli soldiers killed at least 10 more Palestinians during the protests that followed the massacre.
The mosque was then split into two, with 45 per cent allocated to the Muslims and 55 per cent to Jews. Muslims are allowed access to their section at almost any time throughout the year, and to the whole mosque during Islamic festivals. Jews are also allowed to enter the occupied part at all times of the year and the part allocated to the Muslims during Jewish holidays; it is then that Muslim worshippers are prevented from entering the mosque and the call to prayer is banned.
Hebron’s Old City, where the Ibrahimi Mosque is located, is under the control of the Israeli occupation authorities. Around 400 illegal settlers, protected by 1,500 Israeli soldiers, live in the occupied area in the centre of the city.