Worshiper protection allowed in Hebron

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition by the Waqf and the Hebron Development Committee to prohibit the army from attaching bullet-proof shields to three apertures in a chamber containing a marker for the tomb of the patriarch Abraham in the Machpela Cave. Among other things, the petitioners charged that the army was violating its obligations to protect the holy places and causing damage to the site by blocking air and light. However, the court accepted the state's argument that the unblocked apertures enabled the Jewish and Palestinian worshippers, who were restricted to their own areas, to see each other and shoot at each other. They said the shields were necessary for the safety of both sides.