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1 Sep, 2015

Israeli Army Prevents Rehabilitation of Hebron Archaeological Site

HEBRON, August 31, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli army and Jewish settlers on Monday hindered ongoing renovation work at an archeological site in the town of Bani Na’im, to the east of Hebron, according to local sources.

The sources told WAFA an Israeli army force accompanied by staff from the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, as well as Jewish settlers, broke into the area and ordered all the workers at the site to leave. The site consists of an archeological house, revered by local Palestinians as Maqam en-Nabi Yaqin (Shrine of Prophet Yaqin).

Meanwhile, the Civil Administration told the town’s municipality in a phone call that works to rehabilitate the site are prohibited until further notice.

Mahmoud Manasrah, mayor of Bani Na’im, told WAFA that the rehabilitation of the site, which overlooks the Dead Sea, is run by the Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs as well as the Bani Na’im municipality. The project is part of an effort to protect local cultural, religious and historical heritage, he said.

According to the Israeli human rights B’Tselem, Israel strictly limits Palestinians’ construction and development in Area C, under full Israeli military and administrative control.

“This policy means Palestinian residents must subsist in very rudimentary living conditions. They are denied any legal avenue to build homes or develop their communities, so they face the constant fear that their homes might be demolished,” the group says.

Multiple human rights groups have long accused Israel of undermining development of Palestinian communities as well as construction in vast areas of Area C, citing various rationales. These rationales, B’Tselem reports, include “defining these areas as state land, survey land, firing zones, nature reserves and natural parks, or by incorporating lands into the jurisdiction of settlements and regional councils.”