World Bulletin / News Desk
"Since the [Israeli] occupation of the city in 1967, the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil has been exposed to daily assaults and provocations by Israeli extremists who are backed by the occupation’s political and military institutions," the ministry asserted in a statement.
The ministry went on to accuse Israel of "continuing its policy of aggression against the mosque’s holy precincts", noting that the Israeli authorities had recently set up electronic gates at the mosque’s entrances.
"Israel has set up obstacles aimed at preventing [Palestinian] citizens from entering the mosque, which constitutes yet more proof of Israel’s plan to drive the area’s indigenous inhabitants from the area and… Judaize the entire area," the ministry said.
It added: "We hold Israel responsible for the consequences of its violations against Islamic and Christian holy places, especially its latest actions in Al-Khalil Ibrahimi Mosque."
During Jewish holidays, the Israeli authorities have prevented Muslims from praying at the mosque, which is referred to by Jews as the "Tomb of the Patriarchs".
In 1997, an agreement known as the "Hebron Protocol" effectively split the city in two.
Under the protocol’s terms, Palestinians retained 80 percent of Al-Khalili's old city, known as "Area H1". The remaining 20 percent, known as "Area H2" remains under Israeli military control.
Today, Al-Khalili is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinians and about 500 Israeli settlers, the latter of whom live in compounds heavily guarded by Israeli soldiers.