PA moves cabinet meeting to Hebron to protest heritage sites
Fayyad moves meeting to raise awareness about Israeli decision to add West Bank sites to heritage list.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad plans to hold his government's weekly cabinet meeting in Hebron on Monday, in an effort to raise public and international awareness about Israel's decision to add two West Bank shrines to its national heritage list.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet, in a special session held last week, approved a plan for the preservation and rehabilitation of some 150 sites throughout Israel, at a cost of almost NIS 400 million from the state budget, and another NIS 200 million from donations.
Both Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem are included in the plan.
Last week, confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinian demonstrators in Hebron continued for five days, with the Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and police to protest the inclusion of the Cave of the Patriarchs on a list of Israeli heritage sites.
The site holy to both Jews and Muslims houses a synagogue and a mosque.
Fayyad visited Hebron on Friday and warned Israel of increased risk of violence as a result of the Israeli government decision on the sites, adding "we are all united against the decision of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and against the terror of the settlers."
Meanwhile on Sunday, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the international community to protect holy shrines in East Jerusalem, which they said were threatened by unilateral Israeli measures.
Making a stopover in Amman from a European tour, Abbas briefed the monarch on the outcome of his talks with European leaders and developments in U.S. efforts to get peace talks restarted between the Palestinians and Israel, according to a royal court statement.
The two leaders discussed the clashes between Israeli police and youths near East Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel's decision to add two West Bank mosques to the list of heritage sites.
"King Abdullah underscored the necessity of the world community taking immediate and effective steps to protect the holy places in East Jerusalem against unilateral Israeli measures which seek to change the identity of the holy city," the statement said.
"Such steps represent a dangerous provocation that threatens all efforts being exerted for achieving peace in the region," the monarch added.
"Jordan also rejects and condemns the Israeli decision to add Haram al-Ibrahimi and the Belal Mosque to the list of Jewish heritage sites," the monarch said.
In remarks to reporters after the meeting, Abbas reiterated the warning he issued during his European trip that the latest Israeli step could "ignite a religious war".