Lieberman’s mosque visit prompts outrage
HEBRON / JEDDAHA pre-election visit by hardline Israeli nationalist leader Avigdor Lieberman to a West Bank mosque stirred outage as the Palestinian authority slammed the move Jan. 14 as a “provocation” and “completely unacceptable.
“This visit is a provocation to Palestinian feeling,” government spokeswoman Nour Odeh told Agence France-Presse. “Especially by Lieberman, who has declared his aggression against the Palestinian people and who supports settlement.” Former Foreign Minister Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beitenu party is set to enter next week’s general election in an alliance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, visited Jewish settlers in and around Hebron on Jan. 14.
The Likud-Beitenu alliance is seeking to woo settler votes under fire from the up-and-coming, religious-nationalist Jewish Home party. During his visit to the city Lieberman called at the flashpoint religious site known as the Cave of the Patriarchs to Jews and the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims.
“We see any attempt by any Israeli to involve religious sites in the confrontation as completely unacceptable,” Odeh said.
Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also issued a strong condemnation yesterday. İhsanoğlu called on “the international community to react promptly for an immediate end to these serious Israeli violations, which serve only to feed violence and tension in the region,” in the statement released yesterday.