HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities banned Palestinian mosque employees from playing the Muslim call to prayer through the speakers of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 51 times in March, the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment said on Saturday.
Minister of Endowment Sheikh Youssef Ideis slammed the restrictions as attempts by the Israeli occupation to give the impression that the mosque is Jewish property.
Israeli forces, he said, have set up checkpoints at the main entrances to the mosque to inspect worshipers, checking their identity cards and denying them access, while Israeli settlers are able to freely access the site.
Ideis added that Israeli authorities have recently put a layer of base course pavement in the Ibrahimi Mosque’s courtyard preparing to set up movable clinics.
“The (Israeli) occupation has been using various means to harm the Ibrahimi Mosque and its worshipers in order to tighten their grip on the mosque as they have done with other mosques in Hebron’s Old City.”
Ideis said Israeli forces banned the call to prayer from being played through the mosque’s speakers 635 times in 2015.
The Ibrahimi Mosque, believed to be the burial place of the prophet Abraham, is located in central Hebron, a frequent site of tensions due to the presence of 500 Israeli settlers in the Old City.
A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to by Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.