Middle East

Jordan, Saudi Arabia slam Israeli president’s visit to Ibrahimi Mosque

Isaac Herzog forced his way into Ibrahimi Mosque on Sunday to participate in candle-lighting Jewish ceremony

Jordan, Saudi Arabia slam Israeli president’s visit to Ibrahimi Mosque


Jordan and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron to celebrate a Jewish holiday.

Herzog forced his way into the mosque on Sunday to participate in a candle-lighting Jewish ceremony. He was accompanied by a large number of Israeli police forces and Jewish settlers.

Haitham Abu Al-Foul, a spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, said Herzog’s visit was a “violation of international law”.

“This move encourages extremism,” he said in a statement, terming the visit as an “unjustified provocation to sentiments of Muslims”.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry also decried the visit as “provocative”.

A ministry statement called on the international community “to bear its responsibility towards stopping Israeli practices against Islamic holy sites”.

After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by a Jewish extremist settler, Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli authorities divided the mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided in July 2017 to include the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old city of Hebron on its World Heritage List.

Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara

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