Palestinian leaders have claimed that construction work to add an elevator to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, making it wheelchair friendly, is “tantamount to igniting a religious war” not just in the region but “around the world”. They have even called it a “war crime” and urged for a third intifada in response.
These changes are being opposed even though they will give improved access to the site for both Jews and Muslims.
The absurdity of the Palestinian Authority clearly knows no bounds.
In May, the IDF issued an expropriation order for the site so that construction on the project could commence, making the ancient biblical site wheelchair accessible. The move bypassed Hebron’s Palestinian-run municipality, which opposed the project. The Palestinian Authority also opposed the project, denouncing it as “Judaization.”
According to a translation by NGO Palestinian Media Watch, on August 4, WAFA, the official PA news agency, reported that the PA’s Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash “condemned the occupation government’s decision to allow the settlers to build an elevator inside the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron […] since the authority to manage the Ibrahimi Mosque belongs to the Palestinian [PA] Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Hebron Municipality – and no one else.”
The report continued: “Al-Habbash added that the occupation state and its leaders will bear the consequences of this continued arrogant behavior, and that aggression towards our holy sites will have a cost. He warned that the Palestinians are prepared to do anything in order to protect our religion and holy sites and defend them – regardless of the cost, and regardless of the sacrifices. Al-Habbash described the Israeli ruling as an attack on our religion and holy sites, and [said] that this will have severe consequences and is tantamount to igniting a religious war in the region and in the world.”
Two days later the Official PA daily al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that the PA’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Al-Malki said that constructing the elevator and “harming the Ibrahimi Mosque constitute a war crime and a violation of all the international laws. […] He noted that in this way, the occupation is attempting to strengthen the colonialism, occupation, and forgeries that it is committing on our land, our heritage, and our history.”
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