Abbas warns Israel heritage sites may spark religious warFeb 23rd, 2010 | By admin | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)
Abbas warns Israel heritage sites may spark religious war
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that Israel’s decision to add two West Bank sites to the national heritage list is a dangerous provocation that may bring about a religious war, Israel Radio reported.
In a speech to the parliament in Brussels, Abbas said Israel’s attempt to steal the Palestinian heritage is part of a larger scheme to take over religious Muslim sites.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem would both be added to the list of national heritage sites that the government plans to promote.
Also on Tuesday, Hamas’ ruler in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, urged Palestinians in the West Bank to rise up against Israeli forces in response to Netanyahu’s recent decision.
“The decision requires a real response in the West Bank and for the people to rise up in the face of the Israeli occupation and to break every shackle in confronting it,” Haniyeh told reporters, according to media reports.
“[The project] aims to erase our identity, alter our Islamic monuments and steal our history,” he added.
Hanieyh made the comments during a session of the Gaza Legislative Council, where he declared that the Palestinian Authority should respond to the Israeli government’s move not by renewing negotiations but by inciting a new intifada.
Netanyahu said on Sunday that rightist religious party Shas persuaded him add the two sites to the list.
“Our existence depends not only on the IDF or our economic resilience – it is anchored in…the national sentiment that we will bestow upon the coming generations and in our ability to justify our connection to the land,” said the premier.
The United Nations on Monday expressed concern over the recent decision to include the two holy sites in a planned “heritage trail,” Robert Serry, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East said.
The Yesha regional council praised Netanyahu’s decision and said that “the plan strengthens the connection with land of our forefathers.”
The plan has a government budget of over NIS 500,000 to renovate and restore the national heritage sites.
Last month, Netanyahu dedicated part of his speech at the Herzliya conference to the national heritage sites, and said, “the country’s strength does not depend entirely on it’s military strength, weapons, economic power or ingenuity, but on the knowledge and national sentiments which parent pass down to their children, and as a state, on the education system.”
See our Verse by verse study on Genesis Chapter 23 where Abraham buys the cave.