Israel to include West Bank shrines in heritage plan

JERUSALEM Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:29pm EST

1 of 10. Israeli soldiers put a Jewish setter into the back of a military vehicle after the settlers barricaded themselves inside a synagogue in the West Bank city of Jericho February 21, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Sunday it wanted to include two Jewish shrines in the occupied West Bank in a national plan to rehabilitate some 150 Jewish and Zionist heritage sites, drawing condemnation from the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted in a statement as saying that Rachel's Tomb, near the city of Bethlehem, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site holy to Muslims and Jews in the tinderbox city of Hebron, would be part of the plan.

"Since I was asked, I would like to make my intentions clear, and this is what will be," Netanyahu said during a special cabinet meeting held in Tel Hai, a historical site in northern Israel where Jews and Arabs fought battles in 1920.

Israeli media reported that the two disputed sites had been included in the plan only after pressure from nationalist ministers in Netanyahu's right-leaning coalition government.

The Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement that the decision was an attempt by Netanyahu's government to "wreck international efforts aimed at returning to (peace) talks," which were suspended over a year ago.

Rachel's Tomb which is revered by Jews as the gravesite of the matriarch Rachel, is guarded by Israeli soldiers and surrounded by a fence.

Israeli security is also tight at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where a Jewish settler shot and killed 29 Muslim worshippers in 1994 before being beaten to death at the scene. Some 400 Jewish settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves in the city, which is also home to some 150,000 Palestinians.

"This particular violation is especially dangerous because it will add to the religious component of the conflict in a way that might bring dangerous consequences," said Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian government in Ramallah.

Also on Sunday, some 50 Jewish settlers and Israeli right-wing activists entered the Palestinian city of Jericho and barricaded themselves inside a synagogue. An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers had evacuated the settlers.

It was unclear whether the Jericho synagogue was part of Netanyahu's restoration plan, which he said would cost some 400 million shekels ($107 million).

Netanyahu, who last year ordered a limited 10-month freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, says he is ready to resume peace talks immediately and without preconditions.

Abbas says peace talks cannot resume without a full settlement freeze that includes East Jerusalem.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr, Tom Perry and Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh, Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Comments (9)
wrongatlarge wrote:
ticket to dubai $500,,,
hotel in dubai $100,,,
dinner in dubai $60,,,

taking out a terrorislamist murderer that is committing crimes against humanity,,,


Feb 21, 2010 9:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
LJ1978 wrote:
Judaea — the territory around Jerusalem including Hebron and Bethlehem — is indeed the ancient Jewish homeland. The word “Jew” means literally “Judaean”.

But the Jews/Judaeans were not the Samaritans of the northern West Bank, nor the Philistines and Phoenicians of the Mediterranean coast, nor the Idumaeans of the Negev desert, nor the inhabitants of the actual ancient “Israel” in the eastern Galilee.

In fact if the religion of the ancient Israelites of the Galilee survived in the hills today, it would be anathematized as “non-Jewish” by mainstream Pharisaical/Rabbinical Judaism for rejecting the Talmud, just as the religion of the modern surviving Samaritans is.

If King David ruled over some of these other peoples for a short period of time, this only means they had to pay tribute to him — not that Jews/Judaeans lived in those areas. And as far as secular archaeologists are concerned, there is no actual evidence of a large-scale state in the region at that time and the Biblical tales are only exaggerated bragging by later writers.

During the Roman period, the Kingdom of Judaea was a small administrative sub-division inside the Roman province of Palestine. The Romans never put their Judaean puppet-kings in charge of the whole of Palestine, and Jews/Judaeans were still the majority population only in Judaea itself.

But for the modern Zionist movement the small, dry, and landlocked territory of Judaea was simply not good enough — they wanted the whole of Palestine for their ahistorical fabrication of a grand “Land of Israel”. They couldn’t seize this outright so they first took half that DIDN’T include Judaea, and then immediately began wailing that the evil Arabs were keeping them separated from their eternal emotional connection to Judaea, so as to seize the rest.

And they haven’t quite gotten away with it.

So if Jews today care more about praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Judaea than wearing bikinis in Philistia, I’m sure the Palestinians could be convinced to give up Judaea including the whole of Jerusalem for a Jewish State, in exchange for a Palestinian state in all the rest of the British mandate.

Feb 22, 2010 12:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
sidrock23 wrote:
lol, israel loves it fairy tales! I bet next they are going to claim Cinderella’s castle barbie’s dream house as “holy” places.

Feb 22, 2010 4:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
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