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The BBC's Hilary Andersson
"Right wing settlers desparately tried to stop the destruction"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 29 December, 1999, 14:40 GMT
Israelis dismantle extremists' shrine

Almost 30 people were killed in the shooting


By Hilary Andersson in Jerusalem

Israeli troops have dismantled a shrine at the grave of a Jewish settler, Baruch Goldstein, who was beaten to death by Palestinians after he shot 29 worshippers in Hebron five years ago.

Middle East
Israeli soldiers stood guard as bulldozers ripped down lamp posts and other embellishments at the graveside.

When the soldiers dismantled the shrine, they did not touch the tomb itself which lies in the hardline settlement of Kyriat Arba near the town of Hebron.

The tombstone bears the inscription "Murdered for the sanctification of God's name".

Pilgrimage site for extremists


Tomb had become place of pilgrimage
Over the years, the shrine which Jewish settlers had built around Baruch Goldstein's tomb had become a pilgrimage site for extremist Israelis.

A law passed by the Knesset after the Goldstein killings banned the erection of memorials for those who carried out acts of terror. But a court appeal by the Goldstein family delayed the dismantling of the shrine.

Just over a month ago, High Court judges ruled that the site and the inscription on the tombstone, in effect praised Goldstein and his acts.

The continued existence of the shrine until now has been highly controversial. It has offended Palestinians and also many liberal Israelis.

The fact that the authorities have now dismantled it will be seen by many as an important and long overdue symbol of reconciliation.

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04 Aug 99 |  Middle East
Hebron sealed off after shooting
18 Jul 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
An era of peace

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