Hebron, MINA – Israeli occupation forces on Friday bow to pressure from Jewish settlers to stop the call to prayer at Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron.
“Shortly after the muezzin, Siraj Sharif, began calling worshipers to prayer, Jewish extremists began banging on the walls and finally, the Israeli army agreed to their demands and forced the muezzin to stop the call to prayer in the middle of the road,” said Sheikh Hafez Abu Sneneh, Imam of the Mosque of Ibrahimi protected by UNESCO, Arab News reported.
Although a declaration from the Palestinian Authority regarding the termination of the lockout period due to COVID-19 and the opening of mosques and churches in the Palestinian territories has been enacted, the effort was subjected to arbitrary action by Israeli occupation army.
Sheikh Hafez said the worshipers who arrived for Friday prayers were welcomed by military personnel who tried to impose Israeli regulations which restricted religious gatherings of more than 50 people at the same location.
“We follow the regulations of the Palestinian Ministry of Health which have allowed regular prayers in all West Bank mosques on condition that preventive health requirements of physical separation be applied.
“Every day we disinfect mosques and worshipers are required to wear masks and keep our distance from each other,” he said.
He added, despite efforts by the Israeli army to limit the number of worshipers to 50, more than 200 made it into the mosque for Friday prayers.
“This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Israel has no right to change the rules and procedures at the mosque,” he said.
Issa Amro, a human rights campaigner in Hebron, said Israel’s actions violated the Hebron agreement and its protocols.
“The protocol that governs prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque is very clear that the Palestinian Islamic Waqf department is responsible for matters concerning the mosque and prayer there,” Amro said.
Meanwhile, Tareq Kayyal, a photojournalist with the German DPA news agency, said that Friday prayers coincide with the Shavuot Jewish holiday. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)