Palestinians denounce move to expropriate West Bank land, as final approval for the plan lies with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
By MEE staff
Published date: 21 April 2020
Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit approved on Tuesday the confiscation of Palestinian land in the area of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Hebron, located in the southern occupied West Bank.
Final approval still remains in the hands of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, local media reported. Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett already greenlit the expropriation plan in December.
The land will be seized from the Palestinian Islamic Waqf, a trust in charge of religious endowments, in order to “renovate” it and make it accessible to people with disabilities.
The most populated Palestinian city in the West Bank, Hebron is unlike elsewhere in the occupied territory, as almost 800 Israeli settlers currently live in the heart of the city under heavy military guard – instead of in settlements separate from Palestinian communities.
In total, more than 200,000 Palestinians live in Hebron, including 30,000 in the old city centre.
The old city, including the Ibrahimi Mosque, has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site since 2017, and is considered a threatened site.
The mosque, known to Israelis as the Tomb of Patriarchs, is a highly contested site. In 1994, an Israeli-American settler killed 29 Palestinians worshipping in the mosque.