The Zionist Organization of America News Release, November 14, 2001
NEW YORK – The capture of three of Yasir Arafat’s Fatah terrorists who were
planning to blow up a major Jewish holy site, the Cave of the Patriarchs in
Hebron, is just the latest in a series of Palestinian Arab attempts to destroy or
desecrate Jewish religious sites.
The Fatah terrorists who were captured on November 13, 2001, were planning
to set off a car-bomb at the Cave of the Patriarchs, burial site of the biblical
patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, and
The Fatah terrorists admitted they were planning to use a car belonging
to United Nations personnel who have been stationed in the city.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Yasir Arafat and his Palestinian
Authority have demonstrated, once again, that they cannot be trusted to
respect the sanctity of Jewish religious sites — as proven by their destruction of
the Tomb of Joseph last year, and their constant attacks on the Tomb of
The ZOA president added: “Imagine the international outcry if Jews were
caught planning to blow up an Islamic religious site. Yet the world is silent as
the Palestinian Arabs seek to destroy Jewish holy sites. We urge the Bush
administration to condemn Palestinian Arab attacks on Jewish holy sites, and
place Arafat’s Fatah on the official U.S. list of terrorist groups.”
Although attacks on holy sites are in violation of UNESCO’s ‘Convention and
Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,’
neither UNESCO or any other United Nations agency have ever spoken out
against Palestinian Arab attacks on Jewish holy sites, such as:
* Destroying the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem (Nablus).
* Burning the ancient Shalom al-Yisrael synagogue in Jericho.
* Rock-throwing attacks against Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall in
* Constant Arab shooting attacks and firebomb attacks against the Tomb of
Rachel, in Bethlehem.
* Attempts to destroy the Tomb of Joshua.
* The wave of violent attacks on synagogues throughout Israel on Yom Kippur
* Repeated attacks on the ancient Jewish cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount of
* Repeated attacks on the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron.
* Desecration of the grave site of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Yehuda Ben-Baba,
near the Israeli town of Shfaram.
* The Arafat-appointed Mufti (chief Islamic religious authority) of Jerusalem,
Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, issued a fatwa (a Muslim legal decree) declaring that the
Western Wall is “part of the Haram el Sharif
and exclusively Muslim.”
The fatwa “was issued after it was discovered some stones in the Wall
have become loose and in need of repair. The edict declared that Jews are
forbidden to make any repairs to the Haram (known to Jews as the Temple
Mount). If the Wall is part of the Haram, they cannot be allowed to repair it or
touch it.” (Israeli daily Ha’aretz, February 21, 2001)
* PA Minister of Religious Affairs Hassan Tahbub said that when the PA gains
control of the Cave of the Patriarchs, Jews will not be allowed to pray there,
since “the Koran doesn’t allow non-Muslims to pray in a mosque.” (Jerusalem
Report, Jan. 25, 1996).
The PA-appointed mayor of Hebron, Mustafa Natshe, said “We will agree
to permit Jews to visit the Cave of the Patriarchs. But we will not let them pray
there.” (Ha’aretz, June 24, 1996)
The PA-appointed deputy mayor of Hebron, Kamal Dweik, said the Cave
of the Patriarchs “is a mosque, not a synagogue. For Jews to pray in a mosque
would mean that it is changed into a synagogue. And we refuse this thing.”
(IMRA, June 22, 1999)
PA official Hisham Abdel Raziq said “The Jews can pray in the plaza
outside the mosque,” but not in the Cave of the Patriarchs itself. (IMRA, July 2,