fayyaf hebron 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Amid escalating violence in Hebron, the IDF will be on high alert
throughout the West Bank on Sunday out of fear that settlers,
celebrating Purim, will clash with Palestinians.
the IDF clamped a closure on the territories for the duration of Purim
which will end Monday night in walled cities like Jerusalem. Additional
forces will be deployed in defined “hot spots” to prevent friction
between Palestinians and settlers.
While Hebron was quiet over
the weekend, defense officials said there were fears that violence
would escalate in the city as well as other parts of the West Bank,
particularly in northern Samaria, on Purim day. Palestinians have been
engaged in a series of protests following last Sunday’s cabinet
decision to add the Cave of the Patriarchs to the list of national
On Thursday, sporadic violence broke out
throughout Hebron and the IDF significantly increased its presence in
the city. Soldiers stood guard at many points in the Israeli-controlled
part of the city. A number of soldiers were posted on the roof of the
building opposite the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Head of the Civil
Administration Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai spoke with Palestinian
officials in an effort to ease tensions and prevent further violence.
Mordechai specifically asked that PA security forces that operate in
Hebron work to prevent additional demonstrations.
Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visited Hebron on Friday and
prayed at the Cave of the Patriarchs on Friday afternoon, criticizing
Israel’s decision to add the site and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem to the
list of Jewish heritage sites marked for renovation and preservation.
Speaking to reporters after prayers, Fayyad accused Israel of “annexing” the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s decision has a dangerous political
nature. The site is an inseparable part of the occupied Palestinian
territories,” Channel 10 quoted Fayyad as saying.
“This is the central reason we oppose the Israeli government’s decision,” Fayyad reportedly said.
a violent demonstration by dozens of Palestinian protesters in Hebron
against the heritage list decision ended on Friday evening. The
protesters hurled rocks at IDF troops and Border Police forces near the
Jewish quarter in the city, and security forces were using non-lethal
weapons to disperse the rioters. One protester was arrested, Army Radio
Forces in Hebron had been on heightened alert,
preparing for the possibility of continued rioting in the city.
Officials were concerned that violence would escalate following sermons
during Friday prayers in the city’s mosques.
protesters were reportedly injured in clashes on Thursday, a day after
the Obama administration sharply criticized Israel for its move.
to Palestinian reports, four demonstrators were also arrested in the
violence just meters from the cave, where dozens of youths threw rocks
at Border Police and IDF soldiers.
The security forces fired tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, who had gathered to protest the Israeli decision.
government’s move, announced Sunday, has drawn wide criticism,
including from the United Nations. US State Department spokesman Mark
Toner said the administration viewed the move as provocative and
unhelpful to the goal of getting the two sides back to the table.
Toner said US displeasure with the designations of the Cave of the
Patriarchs in the flash point town of Hebron and the traditional tomb
of the biblical matriarch Rachel in Bethlehem had been conveyed to
senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.
Netanyahu has attempted to calm the spirits, saying there is no
intention to change the status quo at the worship sites. Freedom of
worship would be maintained, he said, and the purpose of the decision
was to allow renovation and maintain the current status.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.