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Palestinians strike over Hebron settlement building

Middle East | 2019-12-09 12:44:39
Palestinians strike over Hebron settlement building
Palestinians staged a general strike in the West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) on Monday in protest of Israeli plans to build a new settlement in the flashpoint city. 

Shops and public and private institutions shut their doors as part of the strike, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter in the city.

"We will do everything possible to halt [Israeli] judaization measures in Hebron and all Palestinian land," Palestinian group Fatah, which called on to strike, said in a statement.

Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett approved the construction of a new settlement in Hebron.

Bennett's office said the settlement in the market area on Hebron's Old City will create Jewish "territorial continuity" between the existing Avraham Avinu neighborhood and the Ibrahimi mosque.

Revered by both Muslims and Jews, the Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial sites of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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

The Israeli construction came a few weeks after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Israeli settlements in the West Bank will no longer be viewed as illegal "per se".

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

Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live on more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians insist to regain the entire West Bank along with the Gaza Strip for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.

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