The Ibrahimi Mosque massacre 26 years on

The Palestinians these days are commemorating the 26th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre committed on February 25, 1994 by an extremist Israeli settler named Baruch Goldstein.

The settler, who was a physician in the Israeli occupation army, opened indiscriminate fire from his automatic rifle at some 500 Palestinian worshippers as they were performing the dawn prayer on a Ramadan day at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

Several minutes of constant shooting were enough to kill 29 worshippers and wounding tens others before people managed to kill the murderer.

The occupation forces, in complicity with the settlers, closed the doors of the mosque to prevent worshipers from leaving it at the time of the massacre and prevented the paramedics from arriving to save the wounded. Later in that horrible day, the occupation forces opened fire towards the Palestinians during the funeral of the massacre victims, bringing the number of martyrs to 60 and the injured to 150.

 There was no strong response from the international community to the massacre. The Security Council confined itself to establishing the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) on March 18, 1994 to document the crimes of the Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people and to take measures to ensure protection to the Palestinians in all the occupied territories. However, the occupation impeded the mission's work and early last year, it refused to renew the mission's work.

It goes without saying that the Israeli occupation committed the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in order to seize the heart of al-Khalil city and its heritage sites and to displace the Palestinians from the old city in preparation to judaize it completely.

Today, the situation in the occupied territories is worse. The occupation forces continue to target the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Old City of al-Khalil. They have escalated their attacks on commercial stores, homes and all the components that are necessary for the Palestinians in the city. Also, the occupation authorities are now pressing ahead with implementing their plans to establish hundreds of settlement units in al-Khalil and provide protection for the settlers to seize the Palestinians' properties.

The crimes and massacres of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians continue with unlimited American support, most recent of which has been manifested in announcing the so-called "Deal of the Century" which aims at liquidating the Palestinian cause and perpetuating the Israeli occupation and which was actually started to be implemented in late 2017 with Washington declaring occupied al-Quds as the capital of Israel and with the US move to transfer its embassy to al-Quds in May 2018.

Moreover, the occupation's attacks on the besieged Gaza strip and on the Palestinian holy shrines and its policies of land confiscation and displacement also continue on a daily basis necessitating the international community to compel the Israeli occupation to implement the international resolutions that call for immediately ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In addition, the scenes of the occupation forces and Israeli settlers storming the cities and towns of the West Bank, attacking the Palestinians, seizing their lands, killing Palestinians in cold blood, mutilating and holding the bodies of martyrs and bombing the besieged Gaza Strip all prove to the international community that the Palestinians are being exposed to horrific racist crimes and ethnic cleansing activities that require an urgent international action to put an end to the Israeli inhuman practices and ensure international protection for the Palestinian people.

However, the international community has confined itself to condemnation statements and to expressing worry concerning these Israeli crimes and this has encouraged the occupation authorities to continue committing more atrocities and violating the international law and the international legitimacy resolutions.

The anniversary of the Ibrahimi massacre raises the painful memories that the massacre continues through daily criminal acts by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians; crimes that must draw the world's attention and urge an immediate stop of the occupation's atrocities.

 On the other hand, the steadfast resistant Palestinian people always affirm  their determination to continue confronting the Israeli occupation and the so-called "Deal of the Century" which aims stealing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. They also vow to continue the struggle until their occupied lands and usurped rights are restored.

Hamda Mustafa