The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) penned a letter to the Palestinian Authority mayor of Hebron demanding that he approve the construction, renovation, to ensure that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is accessible to the handicapped or Israel will assert full control over the site Hakol Hayehudi reported.
COGAT made clarified to the Arab mayor that if he refuses, to comply, Israel would confiscate the property of the tomb and carry out the renovations unilaterally.
The Civil Administration wants to advance the renovation so that the entire population including Jews and Arabs, will be able to pray at the holy site.
The Jewish community in Hebron has complained that the Israeli government is allowing the Hebron municipality and the Waqf to determine the protocol at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. “We demand from the prime minister and defense minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Return the cave to its true owners and make the access available to all visitors.”
The community also noted that the ultimatum does not include a precise deadline but rather it is open-ended in its current state saying: “It is imperative that an exact date is attached to the ultimatum that was given to the Hebron municipality and that that date is publicized. The day after that date is over, the confiscation must begin. The Cave of the Patriarchs belongs to the nation of Israel, and the government must ensure that every person of all religions may pray there. ”
The response of the Unit for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories is as follows: “The Ministry of Defense and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) are working to arrive at a solution that enables the accessibility of the site for people with disabilities wishing to enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and they view this as very important. A number of alternatives are currently being examined in order to provide an optimal response while considering the complexity of the site. ”
Rabbi Yishai Fleisher, spokesman of the Hebron Jewish community told BIN: “It is time to bring the Tomb of Patriarchs and Matriarchs out from the Middle Ages and into modernity. Handicap access, renovation, beautification, have all been stymied by the control of the PA and the Waqf of this Biblical monument. Rejuvenation of this majestic site is around the corner, but will not happen until Israel is the full sovereign.”
Last week, BIN reported that a Hamas bomb-maker was apprehended after leaving Hebron to Taybeh.