The Hamodia reported on November 5, 1997 that the IDF effectively bars Jews from visiting a number of sites in the West Bank which Jews are guaranteed free access to under Article 32 of Appendix I of the Interim Agreement.
Among the locations listed in the article are the tombs of Natan the Prophet and Gad the Seer in Halhul, the Cave of Othniel ben Knaz in Hebron, and the site of Elazar’s Tomb, Ittamar’s Tomb and the Tomb of the 70 Elders in Awarta.
The article claims that while the IDF says the locations can be visited as long as the visitors coordinate with the IDF and get permission, such permission is never granted for “security reasons”.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office confirmed that, while in principle, there is access to these places, security restrictions may prevent them from being open to the public.
The Spokesman’s Office declined to comment if the IDF does not have the technical capability to provide security in the locations or if, instead, it is a question of priorities.
The Office also declined to estimate what resources would be required to make the sites secure enough to allow for free access for visitors.
Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645