Palestinian Riots Ensue Over Heritage Sites

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Palestinians are in an uproar over the naming of two biblical sites in the West Bank as Jewish heritage sites.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added two key biblical sites to his list of about 150 national heritage sites this week, and it has sparked outrage among Palestinians.

CBN News Senior Editor John Waage, who spent several years in Israel, spoke about the current situation in there on this week's Christian World News. Click play for his comments.

Located in the West Bank, or the Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria, Palestinians object to Israel's claim to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's tomb in Bethlehem.

In Hebron, Palestinians rioted by throwing rocks and burning tires. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Netanyahu's move could spark what he called a "religious war."

However, Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev says that the move was not provocative.

"I can't see how any fair thinking person would consider this provocative in anyway. I think that anyone who has opened his Bible, anyone who knows their history knows the importance of these sites for Jewish civilization for the Jewish heritage," Regev said.

The biblical matriarch Rachel, the favored wife of Jacob, is buried in Bethlehem. Religious Jews visit there to pray.

In Hebron, the Cave of the Patriarchs contains both a mosque and a synagogue. Both Jews and Muslims consider the biblical forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are buried there with their wives, as their patriarchs.

Palestinian reformer Mustafa Barghouti accused Israel of trying to impose facts on the ground.

"This is a very serious declaration from the side of Netanyahu that there is no hope for negotiations and no hope for peace," Barghouti said.

Regev disagreed, saying, "We want peace, we want co-existence, but peace can't be based on a lie."

"The Jewish people have deep roots in this country going back 3,500 years," he added. "We can't base peace on ignoring the truth we all know."

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