AMP condemns Israeli requisition of Islamic holy sites


(PALOS HILLS, IL 02/25/10) – In its latest move to illegally annex more Palestinian land, Israel this week announced it was adding two Islamic shrines to its historic registry list.

Under the guise of ‘protecting’ historic religious sites, Israel on Monday announced officials were adding al-Haram al-Ibrahimi in al-Khalil (Hebron) and Bilal ibn Ribah in Bethlehem to the registry of historic places. The Israeli government calls these sites the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, respectively. The bodies of the ProphetsIbrahim, Yacub and Isaak are believed to be buried in the al-Ibrahimi mosque.

Judaism, Islam and Christianity revere the prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Yacub as well as  their wives, which is reflected in Muslim religious endowments in al-Khalil. These figures are key in Christianity and Islam too.

“Israel’s actions are just the latest in a series of actions aimed at separating Palestinians from their land. Israel has been illegally occupying the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem since 1967. The occupation, the Apartheid Wall and the siege on Gaza are all illegal and in direct contravention of international humanitarian and civilian law,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, AMP chairman and professor of Ethnic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “Claiming these two sites, which are religious endowment properties wholly owned by Muslims, is a violation of the protection of religious institutions and proves Israel does not want peace, nor does Israel want to work toward peace."

For instance, in al-Khalil, illegal Jewish colonial settlements surround the al-Ibrahimi mosque, making it difficult for Palestinians to visit. And in Bethlehem, Israel’s illegal Apartheid Wall snakes around Bilal ibn Ribah, creating a Jewish-only enclave around it.

It is not lost on Palestinians that Netanyahu’s declaration came in the same week as the Feb. 25, 1994, anniversary of the massacre at al-Haram al-Ibrahimi of 29 Muslim worshippers by Jew Baruch Goldstein.

Netanyahu’s declaration this week that Israel needs these religious sites to “justify” Jewish connection to the land is reminiscent of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to al-Aqsa mosque in 2000 that sparked the second intifada.

Indeed, various Palestinian civil society institutions have called for another intifada. Most Palestinian leaders view Israel’s latest move as an act of war, according to many published reports.

And world leaders from the White House to the United Nations have roundly condemned Israel’s latest provocative action.

AMP demands the United States backs up its rebuke by tying more than $7 million per day in taxpayer money to Israel’s compliance with international demands to leave the historic sites alone and to make them accessible to people of all faiths.