Update: In Speedy Procedure Civil Administration to Discuss Plan to Build Lift at Tomb of the Patriachs Next Week

Following pressure from the settlers, the Civil Administration Supreme Planning Committee has booked a discussion of the plan at the Subcommittee for Planning and Licensing on July 28th, just two weeks after the deadline for objections. Usually the time between the submission of objections to the convening of the committee is much longer. Last week we updated that Minister of Defence and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz announced he is working to expedite the construction of a lift for disabled visitors at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The speed of the process clearly demonstrates the political motivations underlying the plan and that Gantz is eager to please the settlers and Ultra Orthodox Jews who have been pushing for the lift for more almost twenty years.

Two objections have been submitted to the plan – one by Emek Shaveh and one by the Municipality of Hebron.  We claim that the plan is informed more by political than humanitarian considerations and marks a breach of the status quo in Hebron. In our objection we argued that the plan was illegally approved by a transitional government;  that the plan is in contravention of international agreements to which Israel is a signatory;  that the plan is injurous to the character of the ancient structure;  that no documentation and preservation file has been submitted with the plan.

The lift and access route will not make the site accessible to Muslim worshippers. Kamal Abadin, a Palestinian with a disability, objects to the plan: “If Israel wants to make the structure accessible to the disabled, it should first allow people like me to arrive at the site in a car.”