Tags: Hebron riots holy sites

Riots Continue in Hebron Over Holy Sites

Friday, 26 Feb 2010 11:06 AM

JERUSALEM - Rioting in Hebron heated up again Friday afternoon as dozens of Palestinian protesters hurled rocks at IDF troops and Border Police forces near the Jewish quarter in the city.

The riots were the latest in a series of violent demonstrations which have taken place since Israel announced its decision to add the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem to the list of Jewish heritage sites marked for renovation and preservation.

Security forces were using non-lethal weapons to disperse the rioters.

Forces in Hebron had been on heightened alert, preparing for the possibility of continued rioting in the city. Officials were concerned that violence would escalate following sermons during Friday prayers in the city’s mosques.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visited the city himself on Friday and prayed at the Cave of the Patriarchs in identification with the protesters.

Two Palestinian protesters were reportedly injured in clashes on Thursday, a day after the Obama administration sharply criticized Israel for its move.

According to Palestinian reports, four demonstrators were also arrested in the violence just meters from the cave, where dozens of youths threw rocks at Border Police and IDF soldiers.

The security forces fired tear gas cannisters to disperse the protesters, who had gathered to protest the Israeli decision.

The government's move, announced Sunday, has drawn wide criticism, including from the United Nations. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the administration viewed the move as provocative and unhelpful to the goal of getting the two sides back to the table.

Toner said US displeasure with the designations of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the flash point town of Hebron and the traditional tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel in Bethlehem had been conveyed to senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has attempted to calm the spirits, saying there is no intention to change the status quo at the worship sites. Freedom of worship would be maintained, he said, and the purpose of the decision was to allow renovation and maintain the current status.

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JERUSALEM - Rioting in Hebron heated up again Friday afternoon as dozens of Palestinian protesters hurled rocks at IDF troops and Border Police forces near the Jewish quarter in the city.
Hebron riots holy sites
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2010-06-26
Friday, 26 Feb 2010 11:06 AM
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