Mahmoud Ismail, head of the “Palestinian National Commission for Education, Culture and Science,” called on UNESCO to fulfill its responsibility for the site of “Ibrahim the Holy” in Hevron, referring to what Jews call the “Cave of Machpela” or the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
In a statement, Ismail called on UNESCO and other international institutions to come out against “the forces of the occupation and its settler helpers in order to halt the acts of harm and provocation to the feelings of Muslims and tourists who honor the site and attribute holiness and great religious and historical importance to it.”
In his words, the steps taken by “occupation forces” in the old city of Hevron under the pretext of securing the “settlers” is indicative of “the racism of the occupation and its desire to uproot the Palestinian people from its land.”
Ismail also condemned the decision of Netanyahu, whom he called "the prime minister of the extreme-right in the occupied country," to allow Knesset members to "break into" the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in reference to Netanyahu's decision to allow MKs to visit the Temple Mount.
In this context, Ismail asserted that "The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a site belonging only to the Palestinians and no one else has any right to it, since it is an Islamic cultural heritage only."
The statements come after Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered a change in policy, following more than two years in which MKs were forbidden to go to the Temple Mount.
Channel 2 reported yesterday that in a letter to the Knesset speaker and the defense minister, Netanyahu announced that each MK could go up to the mount once a quarter.