Egypt slams Israeli plan to claim West Bank sites

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CAIRO: Egypt on Monday condemned an Israeli plan to include two hotly contested West Bank holy places in its list of national heritage sites, saying it undermined peace efforts.

“The decision is illegal, foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement.

“This new Israeli position will only feed extremism, confrontations and violence, and it does not serve US efforts to revive peace, he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday he hoped to include Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarch, known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque, and Rachel’s Tomb, or Bilal bin Rabah Mosque in Bethlehem, in the 100-million-dollar plan.

The Ibrahimi Mosque was the site of the infamous massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers in 1994 by Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein, who was himself later killed by Palestinian survivors.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers broke out in Hebron on Monday over the plan.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel in 1979. -AFP

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