- Title: MIDDLE EAST: Palestinians clash with Israeli army over West Bank shrines
- Date: 1st March 2010
- Summary: BURNING TYRE FEMALE STUDENTS WALKING PAST SOLDIER SOLDIER WALKING IN STREET
- Embargoed: 16th March 2010 12:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1HD7268S6P9SUGIEI8S3I1VM
- Story Text: Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinian youths in the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday (February 28).
The violence was triggered by an Israeli government decision to include the Tomb of Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem in a national heritage plan, aims to restore 150 Jewish and Zionist heritage sites.
The fresh surge of violence came shortly after a carnival parade for the Jewish holiday of Purim ended quietly in the city, that has seen a week long confrontations between Palestinian residents and Israeli security forces over the plan announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The plan has been described by Palestinian politicians as another obstacle in the way of U.S. efforts to broker a resumption of peace talks.
The United States said it had raised concerns with Israel about the designation of sites as Israeli 'national heritage sites', a U.S. State Department spokesman said on Thursday (February 25). Both sides should refrain from provocations, he said.
However, Netanyahu said on Thursday the plan had been misunderstood because there is "no intention" to change the status quo. He said Israel's intention was to preserve, not change heritage sites.
Home to 150,000 Palestinians, Hebron is one of the most volatile cities in the West Bank, land occupied by Israel since 1967. Some 400 religiously-motivated Jewish settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves in the city.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill for more than a year. Israel and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority have accused each other of putting obstacles in the way of the resumption of negotiations sought by U.S. President Barack Obama.
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