Palestinians condemn Israeli decision to hold wine festival in Beersheba Mosque

Palestinians have denounced the Israeli-controlled Beersheba Municipality’s decision to hold an Iraeli wine festival in the Great Mosque of Beersheba, Israel.

The festival, which will be launched under the title wine festival, is scheduled to take place in the historic mosque every Monday in June and July, and it will include singing and dancing performances.

The wine festival was announced by the Israeli occupation municipality in Beersheba.

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The Higher Steering Committee of the Arabs of the Negev said in a statement, “Beersheba Mosque is a purely Islamic endowment property which belongs to Muslims who are the original inhabitants of this country. It must be returned to them only.”

“We demand an immediate end to the violations of the sanctity of the mosque and its surroundings, and for Muslims to be allowed to pray within it, not least because the right to practise one’s religion is a fundamental right guaranteed by international law,” the committee added.

This is not the first time that the mosque has been subjected to Israeli aggression. In 2012, the occupation authorities planned to hold a similar ceremony, which sparked widespread anger and prevented its holding.

After the call to prayer in the historic mosque in Beersheba was stopped in 1948, prayers were held outside it in 2012, in response to an attempt to desecrate it.

At the time, Anadolu Agency had referred to the modifications made by the Israeli authorities to the mosque to turn it into an “art museum” in preparation for using it for other purposes, including the wine festival that was to be held.

Palestinian media indicate that the mosque was built by the Ottomans in the first decade of the twentieth century, during the reign of Qaim Maqam Asif Bey of Damascus.

After the Zionist gangs seized the mosque, they turned it into a prison and then a courthouse, before reopening it as a museum in 1953.

Ongoing violations

The settlers’ incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque continue under the protection of the Israeli authorities, in an attempt to establish its temporal and spatial division.

In the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron, in addition to excavation and construction work, settlers storm the mosque and hold noisy parties in it. Video clips show settlers performing Talmudic rituals inside the mosque, interspersed with dancing and singing.

In May, Israeli settlers attacked the Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa and spray-painted the Israeli flag on the mosque’s walls.

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