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PA against wheelchair accessibility for disabled at Cave of the Patriarchs

Itamar Marcus  |

The Palestinian Authority is protesting Israel’s plan to make the Cave of the Patriarchs wheelchair accessible and condemning it as “Judaization.” This is in response to the decision by Israel’s Defense Ministry in February this year to install an elevator to make the religious center wheelchair accessible within a year.

Currently the only access to the large religious site involves walking dozens of steps and people in wheelchairs have to forgo the visit or to be carried. The elevator to be installed will benefit both Jewish, Muslim, and Christian visitors to the holy site.

The PA’s condemnation last week focused on the recent decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu to install the elevator following a visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The PA refers to Netanyahu’s visit as an “invasion”:

PA TV newsreader: “This is as completion of a plan that was presented by [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu during his last invasion of Hebron, whose results will be taking over the lands of the [Ibrahimi] Mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs) and assembling an electric elevator within the mosque as a service for the settlers who want to strengthen the settlement in this area.”

[Official PA TV News, April 21, 2020]

All activities and building by Israel in Jerusalem and Hebron, even when it benefits the Arab population, are condemned as “Judaization” by the Palestinian Authority. In this recent attack coming at the time of the COVID-19 crisis, the PA said Israel is trying to “spread its epidemic of Judaization” against Hebron.

The following is a longer excerpt from PA TV news:

Official PA TV newsreader: “The [Israeli] government’s legal advisor has authorized a decision to take over the lands of the holy Ibrahimi Mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron. This decision comes amid claims of expansion, but it essentially strives to take over the land of the Ibrahimi Mosque…”

Official PA TV reporter: “This is as completion of a plan that was presented by [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu during his last invasion of Hebron, whose results will be taking over the lands of the [Ibrahimi] Mosque and assembling an electric elevator within the mosque as a service for the settlers who want to strengthen the settlement in this area…The occupation government is exploiting the circumstances of the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic in order to spread its epidemic of Judaization and settlement against the Old City [of Hebron] and the Ibrahimi Mosque.”

[Official PA TV News, April 21, 2020]

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