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Israeli minister calls to double number of settler homes in Hebron
Israeli minister calls to double number of settler homes in Hebron
An Israeli soldier guards a group of Israeli Jewish settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron, July 2007. (MaanImages)
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Gaza, ALRAY - Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel reiterated on Thursday the calls to double the number of Jewish homes in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Ariel told Israeli army radio he supported concrete plans for the construction of 100 homes in Hebron.   

"We will build 100 housing units in Kiryat Arba [settlement] and Hebron by next year," the right-wing minister affiliated to Jewish Home Party declared Wednesday at a Knesset meeting.

Likud MK Reuven Rivlin lamented that "unfortunately, today, there are good Zionists who think that ...Israel should give up parts of the land of (Israel) ... I'm afraid Hebron, the city of our forefathers has been on the negotiating table."

A report for Council for European Palestinian Relations showed that "Having lost much of its surrounding area in 1948, the city of Hebron was occupied by Israel in 1967. In 1968 the Israeli occupiers began the Judaisation of the Ibrahimi mosque.

The Israeli military governor ordered the destruction of the stairs, eastern door and the well at the mosque, despite their archaeological value.  This was followed in 1972 by the banning of Muslims from some wings of the mosque which were allocated exclusively for Jews.

In 1994 Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler and member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, opened fire on unarmed Palestinian Muslims praying inside the Ibrahim Mosque. 29 Palestinian worshippers were killed and 125 wounded. The attack only ended when Goldstein had expended his ammunition, then he was subdued and killed. Israel responded to the massacre by dividing the mosque in two and made it a fortified site.

Over the years, Israel has established a number of strategic, illegal settlement points in and around Hebron. Protection of these settlements by Israel imposes a high price on Palestinian freedom. The Israeli authorities impose a regime intentionally and openly based on a principle of separation, the result of which is the legal and physical segregation of the Israeli settlers and the Palestinian majority.