Israeli settlers pray for Trump at occupied Hebron mosque
Israeli settler leaders on Monday held a ceremony to pray for a Donald Trump victory in upcoming US presidential elections at the Ibrahimi Mosque, also known as the "Cave of the Patriarchs", in the Israeli-occupied centre of the West Bank city of Hebron.
"We have come to bless President Trump, both for the past, to thank him, but also for the future, that he succeeds in the coming election," Yishai Fleisher, a settler spokesman said.
Trump's support for Israel - and hostility to the Palestinians - has gone beyond that of any previous US president.
In 2018, Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which is not recognized as Israel’s capital by the UN. He has also cut off virtually all US financial support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and to UNRWA, the UN agency which provides aid and services to Palestinian refugees.
In addition, the incumbent US president has recognised the Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel and in early 2020 unveiled his "Deal of the Century" so-called peace plan, which allows Israel to annex one-third of the West Bank, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state impossible.
This plan was unanimously rejected by Palestinians.
The Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post says that Israeli settlers in the West Bank "have the most to gain" from a Trump victory.
Palestinian officials have expressed hopes that if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the authority would reestablish relations with the US.
A rabbi presiding at the settler ceremony prayed for God to grant Trump "four more years", citing the president's "commitment to the preservation and strengthening of the people of Israel, the state of Israel and the land of Israel".
Most of Hebron is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, but the centre of the city is under Israeli rule. Around 850 Israeli settlers live there, in the midst of approximately 37,000 Palestinians.
Palestinians' movements are heavily restricted and they are subjected to frequent attacks by the settlers.
In 1994, at least 29 Palestinians were massacred by an extremist settler at the Ibrahimi Mosque, which was divided between Jews and Muslims by Israeli occupation authorities following the 1967 occupation of the West Bank.