HEBRON, Wednesday, February 10, 2021 (WAFA) – The Palestinian mayor of Hebron, Taysir Abu Senineh, today received death threats from Israeli settlers.
Abu Sneineh received death threats from mayor of the Israeli colonial settlement of Kiryat Arba Eliyahu Liebman and member of the Israeli parliament Moshe Abutbul.
He described the settler threats to kill him as part of a campaign of incitement aimed at consolidating the Israeli occupation’s racism and quest to colonize Hebron and its old city, as he pointed that this was not the first time for him to receive such deaths threats from Israeli settlers.
Commenting on the reasons behind incitement against him, Abu Sneineh noted that it is because of his firm rejection of the Israeli occupation authorities’ decision to build an elevator to facilitate settlers’ access to the ancient Ibrahimi Mosque in violation of international law and alter the Palestinian identity of the site.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry denounced “in the strongest possible terms” the settler threats to kill Abu Sneineh and considered them as part of the Israeli settler-colonialist project targeting Hebron city in general, and the Ibrahimi Mosque in particular.
It held the Israeli government fully and directly responsible for any harm against Abu Sneineh and the Islamic Waqf staff in the city.
In May 2020, the Israeli military issued an expropriation order allowing construction to begin on an elevator project that would make a portion of the ancient Ibrahimi Mosque wheelchair accessible.
Palestinians have denounced the elevator project as a “dubious way for the Israeli government and settlers to steal more of Palestinian land” and “swallow up more space of the already restricted Muslim side of the compound”.
Twenty six years ago, Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein broke into the Ibrahimi Mosque and opened fire at Palestinian Muslim worshippers, killing 29. Four Palestinians were killed on the same day in the clashes that broke out around the Mosque in response to the massacre.
In the aftermath, the mosque, known to Jews as Tomb of the Patriarchs, was divided in two, with the larger part turned into a synagogue while heavy scrutiny was imposed on the Palestinians and areas closed completely to them, including an important market and the main street, Shuhada Street.
An estimated 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers live under the protection of thousands of soldiers in Hebron’s city center. The city is home to over 30,000 Palestinians.
Israel uses the Jewish nationalist name “Judea and Samaria” to refer to the occupied West Bank to reinforce its bogus claims to the territory and to give them a veneer of historical and religious legitimacy.