Israeli Media: Netanyahu to Visit Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque ahead of Knesset Elections

TEL AVIV, February 15, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth revealed on Sunday an impending visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron and other illegal settlements in the West Bank, ahead of the Israeli parliamentary elections set for March 17.

Netanyahu’s step comes as he bids for a third term in office, maneuvering for settlers’ votes in light of the current intense parliamentary elections. A step that Yedioth said would trigger tension and the outbreak of an uprising by the Palestinians who consider it to be a holy Muslim site.

Secretary General of the Islamic-Christian Committee to Support Occupied Jerusalem and Holy Sites, Hanna Issa, warned of the catastrophic consequences of Netanyahu’s imminent visit, which he also warned could lead to an uprising.

He cited late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon’s visit to al-Aqsa Mosque in 2000, which resulted to what was then coined as the Palestinian Second Intifada.

In February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, opened fire on unarmed Palestinian Muslims praying in the Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29 worshippers and injuring 125 others. The attack only ended after Goldstein was overcome and beaten to death by survivors.

The mosque has since been divided between Muslim and Jews, while Israeli police only allows Muslims full access to the mosque during 10 days of holidays distributed throughout the year.

The Ibrahimi mosque is located in area C, under full Israeli control; where around 400 settlers live in illegal settlements guarded by almost 1500 army soldiers.

No official statement was issued by Netanyahu’s office regarding the visit.