HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces suppressed an event in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, organized to commemorate the 1994 Ibrahimi mosque massacre, when American-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshipers at the mosque, killing 29 and injuring more than 120.
Following the massacre, Israel divided Hebron, with the majority of the city placed under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, while the Old City and surrounding areas were placed under Israeli military control in a sector known as H2. The holy site was also split between the Ibrahimi mosque and a synagogue known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs.
Hundreds of Palestinians marched toward the mosque on Saturday, which came after Palestinians commemorated the 15th anniversary of the massacre in Feb
ruary. The group of worshippers, dressed in black, organized the event to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, under the slogan “Resist with your prayer.”
Abd al-Rahim Abu Hadid, head the local Sharek Community Center, said that the action has been organized every year during Ramadan assert the holy site’s Muslim identity and to “resist the Israeli occupation’s attempts to suppress this identity and Judaize the mosque, by implementing checkpoints and preventing Palestinians from entering for prayer.”
He said Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from entering Ibrahimi mosque, forcing them to perform prayers at the Israeli military checkpoint installed outside of the mosque’s compound.
Abu Hadid denounced the restrictions as “an extreme violation of religious freedoms and the right to worship.”
Hebron Mayor Tayser Abu Snineh also demanded that Palestinians in Hebron be granted their right to worship, their right to freedom of movement, and their right of freedom of expression, and called upon the international community to provide protection for Palestinian holy sites in the occupied territory.