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Palestinian rights organization urges intl. protection on Ibrahimi Mosque massacre anniversary

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Ibrahimi Mosque is seen closed during a Friday prayer over concerns over the spread of coronavirus, in al-Khalil, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on March 20, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

On the anniversary of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, a leading Palestinian human rights organization has called on the global community to provide international protection for the Palestinians and their holy sites under the Israeli occupation.

The Department of Human Rights and Civil Society in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) made the plea in a statement on Friday, which marks the 1994 killing of some 30 Palestinian worshipers in Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil, according to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency.

"This day marks the 28th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, which resulted in the martyrdom of 29 worshipers and the injury of 150 others inside the compound, [and] which was carried out by the terrorist Goldstein under the eyes and guards of the occupation soldiers,” the statement said, referring to American-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein who committed the massacre.

“Instead of punishing the criminal and those who protected him and provided him with coverage, the occupation forces punished the victims by imposing their control over the holy site and placing it at the settlers’ disposal,” the statement added.

The department noted, "Since that date, Palestinians have been deprived of freedom of access to the Ibrahimi Mosque, the establishment of prayer there, and have been denied the call to prayer in the holy site most of the time, which is in line with the interests of the settlers and their attempts to Judaize the entire compound."

The organization denounced the measure as a violation of all international laws and agreements related to human rights and freedom of worshipers.

The statement concluded by calling on the "international community to stand up to its responsibilities and provide international protection for the Palestinians and their holy sites under occupation."

The holy site in al-Khalil was split into a synagogue, known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs, and a mosque after Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994. Since then, Muslim worshipers have been prevented from having access to the site during Jewish holidays.

Al-Khalil, which Jews call Hebron, is the biggest city in the West Bank, home to more than 200,000 Palestinians. About 1,000 Zionist settlers, who engage in frequent attacks on Palestinians, also live there under heavy military protection.

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