27 Feb 2010

Clashes on West Bank over heritage listings

8:58 pm on 27 February 2010

Palestinians and Israeli security forces have clashed in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The protests follow an Israeli move to designate two West Bank shrines as heritage sites. The move was announced last Sunday.

Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad attended Friday prayers at the Cave of Patriarchs - one of the sites - to show his government's opposition.

Palestinian organisations declared Friday a day of popular protest.

On Thursday the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem began a three-day strike.

Restoration plan announced

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron would be included in an $US107 million restoration plan.

Both sites are sacred to Muslims and Jews. Rachel, the biblical matriarch holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, is believed to be buried in a tomb near the entrance to Bethlehem.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is where the Bible says Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried with three of their wives. It is known to Muslims as the al-Ibrahimi mosque.