Neighbors of the Ibrahimi Mosque have been prevented from praying there since October 7, 2023 (European)

Hebron -

The home of Palestinian Arif Jaber is only dozens of meters away from the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Hebron in the south of the West Bank, but he has not been able to pray there since the start of the aggression against Gaza on October 7 last year.

Today, Sunday, is the anniversary of the mosque massacre that occurred on February 25, 1994, while residents of the surrounding areas have been subject to a strict curfew for more than 4 and a half months, so that they are not allowed to leave their homes or move between them, due to the heavy deployment of the occupation army and the checkpoints and ambushes that He sets it up.

Jaber says that the curfew includes about 3,000 people, and a few weeks ago the occupation allowed residents to move for one hour in the morning and another hour in the evening, 5 days a week, in order to supply their needs.

He explains that his house is located to the east of the mosque, but the direct roads leading to it have been closed since the massacre, and it took him 10 minutes to reach it before October 7, but now “it is impossible to reach the mosque because there are 6 manned military checkpoints between my house and it, in addition to Electronic gates at its entrance.

The Ibrahimi Mosque massacre claimed the lives of 30 Palestinians and injured about 15 (Al Jazeera)

Dozens of martyrs and wounded

On this day 30 years ago, the Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein from the Kiryat Arba settlement carried out a heinous massacre that claimed the lives of 30 worshipers while they were kneeling in the dawn prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque, and at that time it was Ramadan 15, 1415 AH.

At that time, the occupation formed a committee to investigate the massacre, which closed the mosque for more than 6 months and ended up supporting the perpetrator at the expense of the victim, by cutting off most of the parts of the mosque and turning it into a Jewish synagogue. Since then, Judaization and military measures have been lurking in the mosque from every side, and their intensity increased with the start of the aggression against Gaza in October 2023.

The mosque is located in the Old City of Hebron, a part of the city that remained under the control of the occupation according to the Hebron Agreement in 1997 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.

The mosque is considered the second most important Islamic landmark in Palestine after Al-Aqsa Mosque, and is attributed to the Prophet Ibrahim Al-Khalil, peace be upon him, who was buried there 4,000 years ago.

The city of Hebron was named after him, and it contains covered domes that some historical sources say are the graves of the Prophet Abraham and his wife Sarah, in addition to the prophets Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, and their wives, peace be upon them.

The occupation surrounds the Ibrahimi Mosque with about 100 military and physical barriers, according to the director of the Hebron Endowments (Al Jazeera)

Judaization series

In his interview with Al Jazeera Net, the Director of the Hebron Endowments, Ghassan Al-Rajabi, reviews the most prominent occupation measures against the mosque since the massacre until today, and we summarize them in the form of points as follows:

  • There were 30 martyrs in the massacre and 150 were injured. Two days later, the number of martyrs rose to 63 martyrs during the angry confrontations, and the mosque was closed for 6 months and 20 days.

  • The occupation fixed the temporal and spatial division, stole 63% of the mosque - including the Endowments Department office and the call to prayer room - and turned the carved part into a synagogue.

  • The excised section was completely closed to Muslims, and is only open 10 days a year during Islamic religious occasions, including Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. On 10 other days, it is completely seized by settlers and guarded by the army, and these are Jewish holidays.

  • The occupation forces prevent the Maghrib call to prayer on a daily basis, and permanently prevent the call to prayer on Saturdays, with the exception of the evening call to prayer. They also prevent the call to prayer to the Maghrib and Isha call on Fridays, and during the year 2023, the number of times the call to prayer was prevented reached 704 times.

  • The occupation closed the western door of the mosque, isolated the southern and eastern areas, and stole the courtyards, estimated at approximately 5 dunams (5 thousand square metres), and they were given to the settlers to perform their Talmudic rituals there.

The call to prayer room is located in the section carved out for the benefit of the settlers, and the call to prayer is prohibited from being heard 704 times during the year 2023 (Al Jazeera)

  • Establishing concrete barriers, stones, iron gates, and manned checkpoints, so that the worshiper is forced to enter the mosque through at least two barriers, during which he is subject to having his identity checked and being searched physically and electronically.

  • Erecting flags and candlesticks on top of the mosque and around it, and holding concerts inside and in its courtyards.

  • An attempt to extend control over it and strip the powers of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments, and this was evident in the construction of the electric elevator and its inauguration in 2022.

  • The occupation continues its excavations in the vicinity of the mosque to excavate what it claims are Talmudic landmarks, even though there is no historical evidence of their existence. Rather, it is a Palestinian Islamic place and a brother to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.

  • The occupation closed the vicinity of the mosque and the Old City by deploying approximately 100 concrete (concrete or iron sheets) and manned military barriers, and after last October 7, the mosque’s closest neighbors cannot pray in it.

A map showing the most prominent Israeli actions in the heart of Hebron, which is under Israeli control (the Israeli B’Tselem organization)

According to Al-Rajabi, the occupation measures in the heart of Hebron and around the mosque led to a decline in the number of worshipers after last October 7 to about 30% from the average of what it was in the last two years.

It is noteworthy that Palestinian efforts resulted in the decision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2017 to include the Old City of Hebron - including the Ibrahimi Mosque - on the World Heritage List.

Source: Al Jazeera