Palestinian presidency on Friday warned that recent aggression by Jewish settlers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) could "transform the current conflict from a political to a religious one."
"Recent settler incursions into the mosque and the performance of Talmudic rituals inside provoke the sentiments of Muslims worldwide," the presidency said in a statement carried by Palestine's Wafa news agency.
In its statement, the presidency holds the Israeli government accountable for "this aggressive behavior and all of its consequences, especially given that [Israel's] so-called internal security minister was directly involved in these acts."
On Thursday evening, dozens of Jewish settlers, backed by Israeli police, forced their way into the mosque, where they performed Talmudic rituals and held a music concert attended by senior Zionist rabbis and Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Arad. Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial site of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (AS).
After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshipers inside the mosque by Zionist extremist Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli authorities partitioned the mosque compound into Muslim and Jewish areas.
Hebron is home to some 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Zionist settlers, with the latter living in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.