Hebron (The Inside Palestine)- Israeli occupation forces on Sunday assaulted Palestinians demonstrating outside the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, over plans of the Israeli occupation president to visit the Mosque to light the first candle of Hanukkah today.
Occupation soldiers were seen brutally attacking and beating the peaceful protesters while forcibly taking the flags of Palestine from their hands.
The protesters were chanting “Hebron is an Arab city. Hebron is a Levantine city.”
Israeli occupation President Isaac Herzog will light the first candle of Hanukkah accompanied by settler leaders at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron on Sunday.
In 1994, the far-right American-Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinian worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29 men and wounding 100 during Ramadan Friday prayers.
Israeli occupation authorities exploited the massacre to split the shrine in two halves, one for Palestinian worshippers and the other for Israeli settlers.
Hebron, 32km from occupied East Jerusalem, is divided into two areas: H1, which is under the complete administrative and security control of Palestine Authority (PA); and H2, administratively run by the PA but controlled by the Israeli military, which has the final say on who enters and exits the area.
Some 40,000 Palestinians live in H2, adjacent to 1,000 Israeli settlers, monitored by 18 permanently staffed Israeli military checkpoints.
Israeli forces maintain a heavy presence in Hebron’s Old City, as Palestinians are not allowed to walk in certain areas, such as Shuhada Street, once a thriving wholesale market that was shut down by ‘Israel’ and turned into a ghost town during the Second Intifada in 2000.
The city of Hebron is monitored intensely by Israeli forces and police. Surveillance cameras have been mounted every 90 metres in H2, with some installed on the roofs of private houses, leaving Palestinian residents feeling they are constantly being watched.
UNESCO World Heritage body in July 2017 has recognised the old city of Hebron, including Ibrahimi Mosque as a Palestinian world heritage site.
On Friday, Palestinians and Palestinian factions have called for protests against the visit to the Ibrahimi Mosque.
The Islamic resistance movement of Hamas warned on Friday of “repercussions” over plans of the visit.
“The Israeli occupation must bear full responsibility to the repercussions of this assault,” Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas official, said in a statement.
The candle-lighting “is a provocation of the Palestinians’ feelings and a flagrant violation of the sanctity of the mosque,” he said, calling on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the city of Hebron “to ward off this provocative move and to confront the attack on the Ibrahimi Mosque.”