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Israel silenced call to prayer in Hebron mosque 47 times in one month

The historic Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2018

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A Palestinian official said the Muslim call to prayer was banned at Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, where hundreds of Israeli settlers live.

Israel banned the Muslim call to prayer from being played at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank nearly 50 times in one month, a Palestinian official has said.

The historic mosque in Hebron had its call to prayer, known as the athan, silenced 47 times in November by Israeli authorities, according to Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs Yousef Ed'ais.

He said the athan was prevented because Israeli settlers in illegal outposts found it to be "annoying", according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Calling on the international community to intervene, Ed'ais added: "Israel has been using various means to harm the Ibrahimi Mosque and its worshippers in order to tighten their grip on the mosque as they have done with other mosques in Hebron's Old City," reported Ma'an News.

Both Jews and Muslims revere the same site in Hebron as the traditional burial place of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs - Jews call it the Tomb of the Patriarchs, while for Muslims it is the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The Ibrahimi Mosque was split by Israel to be used as a synagogue, with Muslims having access to a small portion of it for their prayers.

In 1994, US-born Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein entered the Ibrahimi Mosque and massacred 29 Palestinians who were praying at the holy site.

Around 800 notoriously hardline Israeli settlers live in Hebron's Old City, under the protection of the Israeli military, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in a bid to illegally annex the Palestinian territory.

All Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank are classed as illegal under international law, particularly article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which asserts that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies".

Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.

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