Israel is forging ahead with plans to invest in a number of its national heritage sites, including nine sites along the West Bank. The plans, including that of adding a handicapped accessible entrance to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, have elicited a an angry response from Palestinians.
When Israeli officials initially announced that they would label the Tomb of the Patriarchs as an Israeli heritage site in 2010, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned of the potential for the move to incite a religious war. According to spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority, Nour Odeh, “The Tomb of the Patriarchs is a Palestinian site, and the Palestinian Authority is the only one in charge of making any changes to it.”
Israeli officials have budgeted approximately $107 million for the project, which will be invested in 300 total cultural sites. The money will also be used for “renovating Israeli archaeological sites, digitizing archives, and building a museum dedicated to famed physicist Albert Einstein.”
Read Riots on West Bank Over Alleged Violation of Hague Convention on ArchaeoLaw.