Friday, December 24, 2010

Settlers and IDF Attempt to Steal Old Village Mosque, Beit Ommar, West Bank, Palestine

Uninvited Israeli Settlers Enter Beit Ommar Mosque
Source: Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP)
At 4am on the morning of Wednesday, December 16th 2010, a contingent of Israeli soldiers accompanied a group of settlers into the town of Beit Ommar. They woke up the guardian of the Old Mosque and demanded that he open the building for them. On entering the Old Mosque the settlers began taking photographs of the interior.

The guardian was told that the settlers wish to partition the mosque and use their half for prayers three times a week, claiming that the building holds special religious significance for them.

The residents of Beit Ommar strongly oppose this move for several reasons. The mosque, which is around 800 years old, is located in the old quarter of the town. It is still used by residents for prayers and it forms an important part of the town’s historical, cultural and religious heritage.

Beit Ommar is designated as Area B, and therefore under Palestinian control. The town, with a population of around 17,000 inhabitants, fears that use of this holy building will cause further tension between the residents of Beit Ommar and the settlers from Karmei Tsur, with whom the relationship is already strained due to the settlement’s encroachments onto nearby land belonging to local farmers. Residents suspect that the settlers’ provocative and arguable claim over the Old Mosque of Beit Ommar could form a pretext for further unjustifiable land grabs.

Settlers and IDF Attempt to Steal Old Village Mosque, Beit Ommar, West Bank, Palestine, 12/18/10: video : Indybay:

"Four days prior to the shooting of this video, on December 14th, 2010, thirty Israeli Defense Force soldiers and one settler from the Karmei Tsur settlement came to the old village mosque in Beit Ommar and declared that one half of it would now be for use by settlers in their Jewish prayers. The people of the village responded that if this were to be enforced then the IDF and the settlers would have a big fight on their hands. Neither the IDF nor any settlers have returned to this mosque since. Separately, settlers have also expressed interest in another old mosque in the area. Mousa Abu Maria of the Palestine Solidarity Project walks through the Beit Ommar mosque and explains:

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