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Jewish Pilgrims Arrive

Jewish Pilgrims Arrive At Midnight In Salfit Village As Army Imposes Curfew

KIFL HARES, SALFIT – Around 100 soldiers in jeeps converged on Kifl Hares today in anticipation of Jewish pilgrims arriving to visit the holy sites in the Salfit village, declaring a curfew and occupying at least eight villagers’ homes. The pilgims began to arrive around midnight, and were expected to stay until 7 a.m. This is the third time this year that up to a thousand pilgrims have descended on the village, with previous visits marked by all-night noise and destruction of villagers’ property.

The pilgrims come to visit the tomb of Kalib Benyivna, who is mentioned in the holy texts of all three monotheistic religions, and is known as Kifl in the Koran. Other holy sites here are the tombs of the prophet Yosha Ben Nun, known as Joshua in the Bible, and of the prophet Chanun (Jonah).

The curfew on the village was declared around 11 p.m., after soldiers had arrived on the main road outside the village at around 10 a.m., and entered the village at sunset. In February and April, as in previous years, the large groups of pilgrims have thrown stones at houses, damaged cars by breaking windows and removing licence plates, and shot at pets and animals. They also bring electrical generators and make a lot of noise, keeping villagers up all night. Smaller groups visit Kifl Hares weekly.

A member of IWPS who was in the village compared the atmosphere to a war zone. Many soldiers were on the streets, and were stopping villagers. Some were seen training their guns at upper floors of houses. They also shone a large spotlight on the main square.
One village woman whose house had been occupied by soldiers said she was afraid, especially as her husband was very ill.


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