Jerusalem, MINA – Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennet approved plans to build new illegal settlements in the heart city of Hebron, thus drawing sharp criticism from Palestinian officials.
On Sunday, the Defense Ministry said that Bennett had instructed departments in charge of the occupied West Bank “to notify the Hebron municipality of planning new Jewish settlements in the wholesale market complex”, according to Times of Israel report.
The market area is on Shuhada Street which was once crowded in Hebron, the Old City commercial artery, but has been closed by Israeli soldiers since 1994, forcing many businesses to close.
Palestinians who have long demanded that the market reopen, are prohibited from accessing the road.
Hebron is a holy city for Muslims and Jews and is a point of tension between clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, who are usually heavily guarded and protected by Israeli soldiers.
Mayor Hebron Taysir Abu Sneineh warned that a “dangerous” decision by the Ministry of Defense would lead to an escalation in “the whole region”.
He added that the Municipality of Hebron under the instructions of Palestinian leadership would exert “all its efforts” to protect Palestinian land and preserve the property and whereabouts of its citizens. (T/Sj/P2)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)