Israeli defense minister permits new settlement neighborhood in Hebron

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-01 22:46:25|Editor: yan
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday that a new settlement neighborhood will be built in Hebron, a flashpoint city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Bennett, leader of the pro-settler New Right party, ordered authorities to begin the planning work for a new Jewish neighborhood in the wholesale market of Hebron, his office said in a statement on his behalf.

Palestinian booths and shops "will be demolished... and new stores will be built in their place," the statement read.

"The rights of Palestinians on the ground will be preserved as they are today," the statement added.

The office said that the Israeli government's Coordinator of Activities in the Territories will send a notice about the new neighborhood to the Palestinian municipality of Hebron.

The aim of the new neighborhood, according to Bennett, is to create "a territorial contingency" that will connect between an already built Jewish settlement neighborhood in Hebron, called the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, and a flashpoint site holy to both Jews, who know it as the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Muslims, who know it as Ibrahimi Mosque.

The new construction is expected to double the number of Jews in Hebron, according to the statement.

Some 800 Jews live in Hebron in heavily guarded enclaves, surrounded by about 200,000 Palestinians.

The city has seen regular tensions and clashes.

In 1994, a Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians worshipers there before he was killed by survivors.

Hebron is located in southern West Bank, a territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel has controlled it ever since, an act condemned by the international community.