Palestine has called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil), according to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the ministry said Israeli settlers “erected a candlestick on the roof of the Ibrahimi mosque on Monday” during the celebration of the Jewish holiday Hannukah.
It also said the settlers invaded the mosque by “setting up tents inside it and performing Jewish rituals within it.”
“This systematic settlement escalation is disregarding the decisions of UNESCO, and it demands a stop to the targeting of archaeological and religious sites in Palestinian territories,” the statement added.
The Palestinian ministry called on the international community and relevant international organizations to “act swiftly to protect holy sites.”
The UNESCO-affiliated World Heritage Committee in July 2017, declared the Ibrahimi mosque a Palestinian world heritage site.
The Israeli government prevented Ibrahimi Mosque from announcing Islam’s call for prayer 645 times in 2017.
Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial sites of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by Jewish extremist settler Baruch Goldstein, Israeli authorities divided the mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.
Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.