[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:
Under Arab rule, Jews were barred access to pray in the Second Temple period
structure that houses the ancient Machpela Cave where Abraham and other
patriarchs are buried.
Under Jewish rule the facility is shared by Jews and Moslems with a special
arrangement that the entire compound be open exclusively to Jews and Moslems
for the respective major Jewish and Moslem holidays.
This arrangement can sometimes get complicated since the Moslem calendar is
a lunar calendar without a solar adjustment so that Moslem holidays can
sometimes conflict with Jewish ones.
Nonetheless, the working principle is that Moslems and Jews get an equal
number of "exclusive days" each year.
When the Moslems have exclusivity they hold prayers also in areas where Jews
normally pray. When the Jews have exclusivity they hold prayers also in
areas where Moslems normally pray.
If anything, the sharing of the facility under Israeli rule is an
encouraging model of what can be achieved when a holy place is under the
control of an authority that respects all parties.
Those who propose that Israel hand over control of the remainder of Hebron
to the Palestinians argue that some kind of arrangement can be worked out to
insure that Jews can continue to pray at the Machpela.
But they ignore reality.
The reality is best illustrated by the assertion by Zeid Al-Jabari,the
director of Al-Khalil Waqf, that the "Ibrahimi Mosque is only for Muslims
and it will be forever."
Which brings us to the question of the civilian Jewish presence in Hebron.
Time and again it has been demonstrated beyond doubt that Israeli
authorities are only able to maintain control of areas where there is an
Israeli civilian presence. In the absence of civilians the temptation is
simply too great to retreat in the face of difficulties.
Those who want to remove the Jewish civilian presence in Hebron have to have
the intellectual honesty to admit that what they are really saying is that
retreating from Hebron is more important to them than preserving the right
for Jews to pray there.
If they want to argue this position that's their business.
But they have to be honest about it.
Just as they have to be honest that schemes for insuring Jewish access to
holy places in Jerusalem under non-Israeli control are more wishful thinking
Again. They can advocate hard choices. But they have to admit just how
hard they really are.
Israel Forces Close Ibrahimi Mosque for Two Days
Al Qassam website - The Israeli occupation forces closed the Ibrahimi Mosque
in Al-Khalil in the West Bank to Muslims and only allowed Jewish settlers to
enter it to celebrate the passover Jewish holiday, preventing Muslims from
calling for prayer for two days.
Zeid Al-Jabari,the director of Al-Khalil Waqf, said that the Israeli
occupation forces informed the Waqf department of its intention to close the
Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshipers this morning and tomorrow and opened
all its corridors and courtyards to Israeli settlers to enable their
celebration of the Passover.
Jabari stated that the occupation's decision "actually has begun since
Saturday evening, where they prevented Muslims from performing the dawn
prayer". This ban will continue until Monday evening, which means the
Muslims will be banned from performing ten prayers in the Mosque.
Jabari added that during these two days the Mosque will be desecrated by the
settlers, corrupting everything in the Mosque and causing a real damage. He
pointed out that The IOA closes down the Ibrahimi Mosque before Muslims for
ten days per year in accordance to the so-called Shamgar Commission that
divided the Mosque and allowed Jews to access it, the commission was formed
after the massacre at the Mosque in 1994 in which an armed Jewish settler
killed 29 Palestinians while praying.
Jabari condemned the Israeli government’s arrogant measures and closure of
the mosque, affirming that the Ibrahimi Mosque is only for Muslims and it
will be forever.