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Feb-25-2010 02:38printcomments

Israeli Decision on West Bank Shrines Launches Protests in Palestine

Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs (Sanctuary of Abraham) in Hebron have been designated Jewish places.

Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb

(RAMALLAH) - A decision by Israel to list two biblical tombs in Palestinian towns on a list of Israeli heritage sites, is the latest move against this endangered population, living under the heel of Israeli occupation.

The move has outraged Palestinians and sparked clashes in Hebron, where Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians protesting the Israeli decision.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suggested that Israel’s actions could spark what he called “a religious war.”

The controversial Israeli decision was also criticized by Palestinian Public Works minister Mohammed Shtayyeh.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) secretary general, told a news conference in Ramallah that considering Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs (Sanctuary of Abraham) in Hebron as Jewish places "undermines the efforts to resume peace talks."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the Israeli government declaration earlier this week, which deems Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs (Sanctuary of Abraham) in Hebron as Jewish sites. Like many sites on the West Bank, both are sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Special thanks to Democracy Now and Xinhua for information in this report.

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Rallis February 27, 2010 12:58 am (Pacific time)

And Jesus, we all know, was a Jewish settler and occupier. He lived in Bethlehem and Nazereth- Palestinian land!

Jeff Kaye~ February 25, 2010 7:44 am (Pacific time)

For Israel to claim these ancient sites as their own, is pouring acid on the wounds they've inflicted on all of Palestine and other nations with populations of heritage who could lay similar claim to the right to worship at these shrines of historical import. Why they cannot share, learn how to love, and forget how to hate, is beyond me. (props to Ozzy) The Israeli "leadership" is setting a pitiful example for their own youth and showing the world how truly despicable they've become. They are "rattling the cage" within which they've confined 1.5 million Gazans, and fomenting incredible ill will and exasperation with their hard-line bigotry around the world. I fervently wish, hope and pray that this racist regime is digging its own grave with their horrendous human-rights violations, war crimes and wanton theft of lands that should be peacefully shared by all who have legitimate claim to historical heritage by birthright. Zionism cannot make that claim in any credible manner... Force is their only means of "ownership". Give them enough rope...

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.