Haniyya: Palestine must rise and defend its holysites

Haniyya: Palestine must rise and defend its holysites

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya on Tuesday called on Palestinians in the West Bank to “rise up” against Israel over a plan to restore two contested holy sites in the territory, while Syria also echoed the protest denouncing Israel over the move, according to sources 


 “The project aims to erase our identity, alter our Islamic monuments and steal our history,” he added


The site has often been the scene of tensions between Palestinians and a few hundred hardline settlers who live there under heavy military protection and have converted part of the mosque into a synagogue

Meanwhile in Bethlehem shops and schools were closed in a day-long general strike and youth set tires on fire in some areas, according to an AFP correspondent


Syria echoed the objections of Hamas by also condemning the restoration plan in a statement released Tuesday


“Israel’s announcement that it will annex two holy sites in Hebron and Bethlehem constitutes a flagrant violation of international law,” the Foreign Ministry said


“Syria strongly denounces this aggression … and calls on the international community, including the United Nations, to force Israel to respect international law,” the ministry statement added.

Israel’s plan is an attempt to “judaise” the Palestinian territories, it added


Egypt and Jordan, which are the only two Arab countries to have peace treaties with Israel, said that the restoration plans would undermine efforts to revive stalled peace talks, a stance echoed by UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry