Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Israeli 'provocation' over holy sites risks holy war: Abbas

clipped from www.google.com

BRUSSELS — Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday denounced Israeli "provocation" over two contested holy sites in the occupied West Bank that could unleash a "religious war".

Netanyahu sparked outrage in the Arab world on Sunday when he said he hoped to include Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron in a national heritage plan.

"Such provocation cannot contribute positively to the progress of the peace process,"

"This could provoke a religious war" Abbas warned earlier, in comments to the Belgian Senate.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where the biblical patriarch Abraham is believed buried, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has long been the scene of tensions.

The Islamist Hamas movement has also denounced the Israeli plan which they also see as provocation against Muslims.

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