PA Minister of Religious Affairs continues to fuel conflict in Jerusalem:

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sheikh yusef

“All that Israel wants is to Judaize the Holy City,
take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque,
destroy it and build the alleged Temple”

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik


Contrary to remarks by Palestinian Authority officials that Abbas wants to calm the atmosphere in Jerusalem and prevent violence, Abbas’ own Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida’is continues to fuel the conflict by repeating the libel that Israel plans to “take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque,destroy it and build the alleged Temple”:

“All that Israel wants is to Judaize the Holy City, take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, destroy it and build the alleged Temple. Under Jerusalem there is a city of tunnels belonging to Israel. Yesterday, I was told that Israel has an underground market beneath the Jaffa Gate, which draws many [Palestinian] residents who shop there.”
[Official PA TV, Dec. 3, 2014]

The libel that Israel is conspiring to destroy Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem has been a core element of the recent riots in Jerusalem, which witnessed several terror attacks against Israelis in which 11 were murdered. Polls have shown that Palestinians consider themselves religious, so the alleged threat against the holy sites comprises an effective tool for PA leaders who wish to incite Palestinians to take action against Israelis. (See polls about religiosity below)

Last month, Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash taught that Allah himself instructed Palestinians to “perform Ribat” – religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic – in Jerusalem:

“Allah has chosen us, and Praise be to Allah for this choice. He has chosen us to live in Jerusalem and its environs, and to stand against [the enemy], protest against him, carry out Ribat against him, and defend what belongs to the religion and the Ummah (Arab/Islamic nation).”
[Official PA TV, Nov. 7, 2014]

In the same sermon, Al-Habbash predicted that the current conflict is “the final chapter after which our banners will be raised”:

“The campaign being waged in Jerusalem today – I think it is the final chapter. The final chapter after which our banners will be raised, with the aid of the one, exalted and omnipotent Allah, over the towers of the muezzin (person who sings the Muslim call to prayer) of Jerusalem, the churches of Jerusalem, the domes of Jerusalem, and its hills, mountains, alleys and houses.”
[Official PA TV, Nov. 7, 2014]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Abbas’ advisor also has affirmed that the Western Wall belongs to Muslims because it is “waqf” – an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law. “No one is permitted to sell it or negotiate over it or forfeit it. It is ours and will remain ours,” Al-Habbash asserted.

Click to see more examples of the PA libel that Israel is planning to destroy the Muslim holy places and build the “alleged Temple.”

The following is a longer excerpt of Al-Habbash’s sermon:

Official PA TV broadcast the Friday sermon from the Al-Tashrifat Mosque in the presidential compound in Ramallah. Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic affairs:
“The Prophet Muhammad was the one who commanded us, and we obey him. Allah has chosen us, and Praise be to Allah for this choice. He has chosen us to live in Jerusalem and its environs, and to stand against [the enemy], protest against him, carry out Ribat (religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic) against him, and defend what belongs to the religion and the Ummah (Arab/Islamic nation). We will protect the first direction of prayer, the second Mosque, the third Sanctuary after the other two Holy Sanctuaries (Mecca and Medina), the site of Muhammad’s Night Journey and the cradle of Christ. We will protect the land of the prophets from the enemies of the prophets. We will protect the land of the Apostles from the enemies of the Apostles. The campaign being waged in Jerusalem today – I am telling you, brothers – I think it is the final chapter. The final chapter after which our banners will be raised, with the aid of the one, exalted and omnipotent Allah, over the towers of the muezzin (person who sings the Muslim call to prayer) of Jerusalem, the churches of Jerusalem, the domes of Jerusalem, and its hills, mountains, alleys and houses.”
[Official PA TV, Nov. 7, 2014]

The following are two Palestinian polls showing that Palestinians define themselves as religious:

Poll conducted by Dr. Nabil Kukali of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), a member of WIN/Gallup International, April 23, 2014:
“Responding to the question: ‘How would you describe yourself from the religious aspect?’
(5.0 %) said ‘very religious’ (religious activist),
(44.0 %) ‘somewhat religious,’
(41.0 %) ‘fairly religious,’
(5.4 %) ‘somehow not religious,’
(3.2 %) ‘absolutely not religious’
and (1.4 %) said ‘I don’t know.'”
*It was not indicated whether the poll was of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or both
[Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), April 23, 2014]

Poll by the Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS) from Aug. 15, 2010, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip:
“85% – ‘religion plays an important role in their lives.’
13.7% – ‘religion plays a somewhat important role in their lives.’
1% – ‘religion not important.'”
[Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS), Aug. 15, 2010]

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