Palestinian Authority espouses Hamas' religious war ideology
PA TV Ramadan lesson:
"Haifa, and Jaffa, and Acre... Every grain of soil in Palestine is part of blessed and holy Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic waqf. It is forbidden to relinquish a single grain of soil [of it]"
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
The Palestinian Authority is teaching its population that the conflict with Israel is based on a religious ruling which is identical to a significant religious ruling of Hamas. This Islamic religious ruling holds that all the land of the State of Israel is an inalienable religious endowment - a waqf - of which it is "forbidden to relinquish a single grain of soil." This means that Palestinians are prohibited from accepting Israel's existence in any borders as that is violating the waqf.
This week, PA TV's daily Ramadan program Palestine in the Quran taught:
Head of the Waqf's Al-Aqsa Academy of Heritage and Antiquities Najeh Bakirat: "Every grain of soil in Palestine is ours. The status of Hebron is part of the status of Palestine, as it is an integral part of the Palestinian land, like the status of Nazareth in our eyes, and Haifa, and Jaffa, and Acre (i.e., all are cities in Israel). Every grain of soil in Palestine is part of the blessed Palestine, and holy Palestine which is a waqf (i.e., an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law). Therefore it is forbidden to relinquish a single grain of its soil."
[Official PA TV, Palestine in the Quran, June 11, 2016]
The implications of this ideology must be taken seriously by Israel's leadership. Whereas in the name of Palestinian nationalism the Palestinian Authority still refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, this ideology could potentially change were a peace treaty signed. However, when the Palestinian Authority teaches that the land of the State of Israel is on holy waqf land and that Islam prohibits recognition of Israel's right to exist, then there is no room for compromise, recognition, or change.
This latest statement, that the PA sees itself as prohibited by Islamic law from recognizing Israel, is a reiteration of the same religious ruling that has also been announced by the two most senior religious leaders in the Palestinian Authority, both of whom were appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, as previously documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
Muhammad Hussein, PA Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, has explained that since Israel's existence violates Islam, the entire Islamic nation are the ones that have the religious obligation to "liberate Palestine," meaning they are obliged to destroy Israel:
"The land of Palestine is waqf (i.e., an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law). It must not be relinquished nor must any part of it be sold... He clarified: 'It is the duty of the leaders of the [Islamic] nation and its peoples to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem, to prevent the Judaization in it."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 23, 2015]
Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on Religious Affairs and PA's Supreme Shari'ah Judge, explained that Islam prohibits the existence of Israel even on a millimeter of land:
"The entire land of Palestine is waqf (an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law) and is blessed land... It is prohibited to sell, bestow ownership or facilitate the occupation of even a millimeter of it."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 22, 2014]
Strikingly, these rulings by the senior Palestinian Authority religious leaders that Islam prohibits recognizing Israel, are confirmation that on this most central issue of the conflict the PA and Fatah have adopted the ideology of Hamas. Their language (above) about waqf is strikingly similar to the wording in the Hamas Charter:
Hamas Charter, article 11: "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine (i.e., including all of Israel- Ed.) has been an Islamic waqf [trust] throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it."
Significantly, that same Al-Habbash who Mahmoud Abbas has appointed to be his personal advisor on religious affairs recently made it clear that the PA does not see the Palestinian conflict with Israel as a conflict over territory, but sees it a religious conflict against a state that is inherently sinful because of the alleged inherent evil of the Jews. Jews throughout history, according to Abbas' advisor, have represented "evil," "falsehood," "the devil" and "Satan," and therefore Israel is "Satan's project":
Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "The conflict here in Palestine between us and the criminal occupation ... [is] a further manifestation of the historic conflict between truth and falsehood, between good and evil... The evil is represented by the devils and their supporters, by the satans and their supporters. We are not inventing anything new here (i.e., Palestinian-Israeli). This is a conflict between two entities, good and evil, between two projects: Allah's project vs. Satan's project."
[Official PA TV, Oct. 23, 2015]
The international community and Israeli leadership are basing the entire peace process discussions and negotiations on the false assumption that the Palestinian claims against Israel are nationalistic territorial demands that can be satisfied by territorial compromise related to the pre-1967 cease fire lines. However, since the PA has adopted Hamas' interpretation of the conflict as an uncompromising Islamic requirement to liberate holy Islamic land from the State of Israel, and is repeatedly teaching its population to see it this way, the approach to understanding the PA positions must be reassessed.