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PA and Fatah personalities
Mahmoud Al-Habbash
PA and Fatah personalities
Mahmoud Abbas
Abbas Zaki
Yasser Arafat
PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein
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Mahmoud Al-Habbash
Ahmed Qurei
Salam Fayyad
Issa Karake
Jibril Rajoub
Mahmoud Al-Habbash

Mahmoud Al-Habbash was appointed Minister of Religious Affairs by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in June 2009. He served in that position until June 2014, when the Fatah-Hamas unity government was formed. He was then appointed Supreme
Shari’ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice.

In a press conference broadcast on Al-Aqsa TV, Al-Habbash explained that when he served as Minister of Religious Affairs, he was responsible for “all activity within the mosques” including the sermons, which require prior approval by his ministry:

“It should be noted that the Ministry of Religious Affairs held the press briefing in the conference hall at the Ministry of Information to talk about the steps taken by the PA in order to regulate the activity of the mosques…
Al-Habbash [PA Minister of Religious Affairs] emphasized that the mosques and everything related to them belong to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, from the employees – the imam, the speaker, the Quran teacher, the librarian, the caretakers and custodians –via the mosque and its adjacent structures… to regulation of the activity and the functioning, in accordance with Shari’ah and civil law…
He emphasized that the Ministry is responsible for all activity within the mosques – the functioning, the centers for Quran study, the calls to prayer, and the sermons – and that the Ministry would not take lightly or be negligent in the fulfillment of its obligation. He noted that the religious lessons, Quran study and other activities going on in the mosques require prior approval by the Ministry.” [Al-Ayyam, Aug. 16, 2010]

In his capacity as minister, Al-Habbash delivered the Friday sermons transmitted on official PA TV, using them to convey different messages to the people. The sermons, many which of are documented on PMW’s website, are a reflection of the messages that the Ministry of Religious Affairs choose to disseminate to the Palestinian people.

A recurring message propagated in Al-Habbash's sermons is that Palestinians are in a Ribat, an eternal religious conflict with Israel. In many of his sermons, Al-Habbash emphasizes the importance of Ribat as a religious duty incumbent upon all Muslim Palestinians, as expressed in the following example:

"Allah has preordained for us the Ribat (religious war) on this blessed land. We are committed to it by Allah’s command. Let no one be mistaken or under the illusion that Ribat (religious war) is a choice and nothing more. It is a commandment that necessitates hardship and requires the person to rush to fulfill this command. If Allah has chosen you for Ribat on the land of Ribat, you, the choicest of God’s servants, then this is an honor. The enemy is patient, it is waiting for the nation to collapse. The struggle over this land is not merely a struggle over a piece of land here or there. Not at all. The struggle has the symbolism of holiness, or blessing. It is a struggle between those whom Allah has chosen for Ribat and those who are trying to mutilate the land of Ribat." [Official PA TV, Feb. 12, 2010]

Abbas applauds following call for Jihad in Jerusalem 
Source: Official PA TV Live, Jan. 13, 2014
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “There is a message we must convey to those who kidnapped the Yarmouk [Palestinian] refugee camp [in Syria] with baseless false slogans, pretexts, and excuses. We say to them: ‘The venue for resistance and Jihad is not the Yarmouk refugee camp. Whoever wants resistance, whoever wants Jihad, the direction for Jihad is well-known and clear. Everyone knows it. I don’t think that there is anyone who doesn’t know where Jihad is supposed to take place. [Applause from the audience] I don’t think that there is anyone who doesn’t know to where we should direct efforts or where to concentrate the masses. I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t know this. Those who send young people to Syria or elsewhere to die for a misdirected cause must stop and understand that Jerusalem is still waiting. Jerusalem is the direction, Jerusalem is the address. [Abbas and audience applaud.] A compass that does not point to Jerusalem, Muhammad has nothing to do with it. Put an end to your ignorance, and recognize that you [those fighting in Syria] are nothing more than small tools in a game [controlled by] malicious hands that are running a filthy game to crush the Ummah (Islamic Nation) and diminish it, and deflect the compass, away from its true direction.”
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Note: A large sign on stage announced that the event was under the auspices of Abbas.
PA Minister of Religion promotes “victory or Martyrdom” in Friday sermon 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Dec. 20, 2013
PA TV broadcast the Friday sermon delivered by PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash from the Al-Yarmouk Mosque in Ramallah:
     “We know for certain that as long as we [adhere] to the truth, we will face challenges and be made a target – as individuals and as groups – we know this for certain. Nonetheless, we are also confident in the words of Allah: ‘Say, ‘Do you await for us except one of the two best things’ (Quran, Sura 9:52, translation Sahih International). What do you expect, enemies, cowards (indistinct word), what do they expect will happen to us? ‘One of the two best things.’
Brothers, Allah willing, only one of the two best things will happen to us – victory or Martyrdom (Shahada) – and what a good fate this is, what a good level is this – victory or Martyrdom…
I swear in a God, beside whom there is no other God, that the end of the tyranny and the tyrants is near. This occupation and its growths and creations that wish to spread corruption in our land… We tell them all, the occupation and the occupation’s instruments and any who serve the occupation: ‘Await for us except one of the two best things’ – we, Allah willing, [will be] either Martyrs or victors on our land. […]
We ask for victory more than we ask for life. We ask for the strengthening of our people in this good and blessed land.”
PA minister: Western Wall is part of Al-Aqsa Mosque and belongs to Muslims by right 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Dec. 6, 2013
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "Jerusalem is religion's trust and history's trust in the hands of all Muslims, in the hands of this Ummah (Islamic Nation). We are Muhammad's heirs. It is we who inherited Jerusalem, by its being conquered religiously through the Prophet [Muhammad]'s will, and later by [Islam] actually conquering it [in 683]. We are its inheritors and it belongs to us and to no one else. Visit Jerusalem. We, as Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, must visit the Al-Buraq Wall. The Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall of the Temple Mount) is an authentic part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque only... It [the Wall] is our right, it is our permanent right. It is part of our Al-Aqsa [Mosque], without intending to harm the rights of others in any way, and without harming the rights of others. Freedom of worship in our Jerusalem is guaranteed to all... We do not dispute anyone's traditions, and we do not dispute anyone's religion. Nonetheless, we have rights, principles and positions that cannot possibly be altered."
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PA daily announces official Facebook page of PA Minister of Religious Affairs 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 27, 2013
     “The [PA] Ministry of Religious Affairs denied that Minister Mahmoud Al-Habbash has an additional account, other than his personal account, on the social networking website, Facebook, and it announced that it will take full legal action against anyone impersonating him. Also, in a statement released yesterday [Nov. 26, 2013] it stressed that all statements attributed to him in the social networking websites do not represent him and have nothing to do with him… and that he has only one account, which is:
https://www.facebook.com/mahmoud.alhabbash?fref=ts”
PA minister: “There is no status Allah has exalted more than Martyrdom” 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Nov. 8, 2013
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PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “After prophecy and righteousness there is no status Allah has exalted more than Shahada (Martyrdom)... ‘And think not of those who have been killed in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord.’ Allah forbade us to consider them [the Shahids] (as dead or to speak of them as being dead… The Shahid has merit with Allah, a merit that no one else has... No one - not even the righteous - yearns to return to this world after death. Only Shahids. Why? Because they see the great honor Allah has prepared for them. One of them aspired to return to this world in order to be killed again, in order to die as a Shahid yet again...  After all he saw in Paradise, he wanted to return and be killed [again] in order to taste the pain of death a second time...
Allah Himself is conveying to us the message from the Shahids. The prophets convey Allah’s message and Allah conveys the message of the Shahids. What kindness!
‘The Shahid - his sins are forgiven with the first gush of his blood from his wound... The Shahid advocates on behalf of 70 members of his family, and saves them all from hell...'
When they threatened Yasser Arafat, [he said] ‘You threaten me with death? I yearn to die! I come only to it; I seek only it.’
We will never reach the level of the prophets. We won’t. So let us reach the level of the Shahids."
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PA Minister of Religious Affairs: Arafat was poisoned by Jews, like Islam's Prophet Muhammad 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Nov. 8, 2013
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: 
     “Yasser Arafat died a Martyr – we don’t have the slightest doubt that they (i.e., the Jews/Israelis) killed him. One way or another, they killed him. Even Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] - they (i.e., the Jews) killed him with poison. When he was dying, he said to [his wife] Aisha: ‘I feel the same pain I felt from the poison that I ate at Khaibar (Jewish village).’ Poison that he ate at Khaibar. He continued to feel the pain until he died. ‘I feel the same pain I felt from the poison that I ate at Khaibar...’ Be satisfied, oh mighty one, oh Martyr Arafat, that you were killed the same way Allah’s Messenger was killed... We have no doubt, and I don’t think there is a single one among us who has the slightest doubt that Arafat was killed. Deep inside we all know who killed him.”
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PA Minister of Religion praises founder of Hamas as an “exalted national figure” 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 13, 2013
Official PA TV broadcast of the Friday sermon given by PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
     “Almost ten years after the death of the great leader Yasser Arafat, a leader over whom there was no dispute among the Palestinian people… No one dared come out against him and accuse Arafat of treason. Can Arafat be accused of treason? Can Ahmed Yassin be accused of treason? Can they be accused of treason? They are exalted national Palestinian figures; they are icons. People teach their children about them, about their legacy, their Jihad, their actions and their morality.”

Note: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin - Founder and former head of the terrorist organization Hamas. The Hamas movement is responsible for numerous terror attacks and the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians.
Arch-terrorist Ahmed Yassin is "exalted Palestinian figure" - PA Minister of Religious Affairs 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Sept. 13, 2013
PA Minister of Religious Affairs:
     "Almost ten years after the death of the great leader Yasser Arafat, a leader over whom there was no dispute among the Palestinian nation... No one dared come out against us and accuse Arafat of treason. Can Arafat be accused of treason? Can Ahmed Yassin be accused of treason? Can they be accused of treason? They are exalted national Palestinian figures. They are icons about whom people teach their children about their legacy, their Jihad, their actions and their morality."
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Note: Ahmed Yassin - Founder and former head of the terrorist organization Hamas. The Hamas movement is responsible for numerous terror attacks and the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians.
PA Minister of Religion spreads libel: Israel involved in the Al-Aqsa Mosque arson in 1969 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 23, 2013
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "Where is the Al-Aqsa Mosque? ... It is lost. It was set on fire 44 years ago by criminal hands, in the shadow of a criminal occupation, and acting in collusion with the criminal occupation."
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Note: The fire in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 was started by a deranged Australian Christian, but the Palestinian Authority for years has attributed it to Israel.
PA minister: PA agreements are modeled after Muhammad's Hudaybiyyah Peace Treaty 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, July 19, 2013
PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
     "We hate war. We don't want war... The Palestinian leadership's sense of responsibility towards its nation made it take political steps about 20 years ago (i.e., signing the Oslo Accords). Despite the controversy, despite much criticism and much opposition by some, it brought us to where we are today: We have a [Palestinian] Authority and the world recognizes the [Palestinian] state.
All this never would have happened through Hamas' impulsive adventure, but only through the wisdom of the leadership, conscious action, consideration, and walking the right path, which leads to achievement, exactly like the Prophet [Muhammad] did in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, even though some opposed it...
The hearts of the Prophet's companions burned with anger and fury. The Prophet said: 'I'm the Messenger of Allah and I will not disobey Him.' This is not disobedience, it is politics. This is crisis management, situation management, conflict management...
Allah called this treaty a clear victory...
Omar ibn Al-Khattab said: 'Messenger of Allah, is this a victory? Is this logical? Is this victory? We are giving up and going back, and not entering Mecca. Is that a victory?' The Prophet said: 'Yes, it is a victory.'
In less than two years, the Prophet returned and based on this treaty, he conquered Mecca. This is the example, this is the model."
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PA Minister of Religion: Jerusalem is not an Israeli or a Jewish city 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 10, 2013
PA TV program Religion and the World
PA TV host: “Has anything changed in the [past] 80 years?”
PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “On the contrary, what [Mufti] Haj Amin Al-Husseini warned of has become reality. There is a planned action that is getting worse, to Judaize Jerusalem and take it out of [both] its human and cultural historical course and place it in a distorted and false history by claiming that it is an Israeli city and a Jewish city etc. Jerusalem was and will remain the city of all believers. Its Arab and Muslim identity endures, is rooted and is prominent throughout history and no one can change it.”

Note: Haj Amin Al-Husseini - Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the time of the British mandate, and spiritual and a political leader of the local Arab population. He strongly opposed Zionism and was behind riots and attacks on Jews. During World War II he actively collaborated with Nazi Germany, meeting Adolf Hitler personally and recruiting Muslims for the Nazi army.
PA Minister: “Armed resistance” (i.e., violence) not possible because Arabs lack military power 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, May 13, 2013
PA TV program Religion and Politics:
Host Moaz Shraideh: “There are some who propose launching a resistance in the Palestinian areas, in the ‘West Bank’ in quotation marks.”
Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “What resistance?”
PA TV host: “Armed resistance. There were some who demanded that you initiate the armed resistance to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and enough with the speeches etc.”
PA Minister Al-Habbash: “Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, let’s assume this. Let’s say we remove all restrictions from the ‘armed resistance’ in quotation marks. From where will the resistance get weapons? From where will it get money in order to fight? From where? Do we have factories to manufacture this?”
PA TV host: “You’ll find a way.”
PA Minister Al-Habbash: “We don’t need to find a way. There is a [Muslim] nation with a billion and a half [people]. We, the entire Palestinian nation, what percentage are we of this nation? And just as I am responsible for Jerusalem, the Saudi Arabian, the Egyptian, the Jordanian, the Iraqi, the Indonesian, and the Moroccan are all responsible for Jerusalem. I resist as much as I can. This resistance can [only] reach the popular civilian resistance’s limit because I don’t have military power.”
PA Minister: Palestinian prisoners deserve the Nobel Peace Prize 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Mar. 1, 2013
Friday sermon from the Al-Tashrifat Mosque in the presidential compound. Sermon delivered by Mahmoud Al-Habbash, PA Minister of Religious Affairs.
     “The Palestinian prisoners (i.e., in Israeli prisons for security offenses and terror related crimes)… are paying and have paid a heavy price for defending justice. They are those who are worthy of receiving a Nobel Peace Prize. The Palestinian prisoners are worthy of this prize because they defend justice, defend peace for their nations, for the world’s nations and all the nations on earth. They are not criminals, they demand justice, demand peace, demand humanity, they defend human dignity…”
PA Minister of Religious Affairs: "Jesus brought tidings of Muhammad" 
Source: Official PA TV Live, Jan. 24, 2013
PA Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud Habbash: “And a few days ago we welcomed with all grandeur the birthday of Jesus, may he rest in peace, who brought tidings of Muhammad.”

Note: According to PA teachings, which are based on Islam, Jesus prophesized the coming of Muhammad.
PA Minister Religion says "fighting and Jihad" will continue until Palestine becomes a state  
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Jan. 18, 2013
PA TV broadcast the Friday sermon delivered by PA Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash at the Tashrifat Mosque in the PA presidential compound, Ramallah on Jan. 18, 2013. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was in the congregation. Al-Habbash calls for continued “fighting and Jihad” but also states that the “struggle will continue, now, through popular, peaceful resistance.”
     “Brother believers, our struggle and our Jihad will go on. The Palestinian struggle, fighting, and Jihad will not be stopped until our wish and our hope are realized and the State of Palestine becomes fact, just as it has now become a fact according to international law. From a legal point of view, Palestine has become a state. In practice, this state must take shape and be firmly established on the ground. The Palestinian struggle will continue, now, through popular, peaceful resistance that has become the Palestinian consensus.”
PA minister: Continue Ribat and Jihad until Jerusalem is returned 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Dec. 21, 2012
PA TV broadcast the Friday sermon delivered by PA Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash at the Tashrifat Mosque in the PA presidential compound, Ramallah on Dec. 21, 2012. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Secretary General of his office, Al-Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, were in the congregation.
     Habbash: “We say to the whole world, we say to the occupation government, to whoever supports the occupation government to whoever defends the occupation government in international forums: As Allah lives, we are continuing what we do; we are continuing our Ribat (religious conflict to defend Islamic land). We are continuing our Jihad. We are continuing with our resolve. We are continuing to hold on, until Allah grants us victory, until Allah grants victory to our cause, until our Jerusalem is returned to us, until our state is established, or until we die. As Allah lives, this is one of two good things: Victory or Shahada (Martyrdom death for Allah). There is no third option. Either victory or Martyrdom death.”
PA minister: Jews have no connection to Western Wall, which is "the sole right of Palestinians" 
Source: WAFA news agency, Dec. 17, 2012
     "Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash said that Jerusalem and all its features, its geography, and its Islamic and Christian holy sites, and this includes the Western Wall, are the sole right of Palestinians. (The Arabic throughout the text for the Western Wall is Al-Buraq Wall - Ed.) In a press release he stressed that [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu's recent statements concerning the occupation's (i.e., Israel's) ownership of the Western Wall are nothing but nonsense and an attempt to manipulate both history and geography, and are worthless from a religious, historical, or legal point of view. (See Netanyahu's exact quote below - Ed.) Al-Habbash made clear that Netanyahu's statements about Jerusalem and the Western Wall lack the elementary scientific basis for approaching history which has always proven Islamic ownership of the Western Wall... that no person besides Muslims ever used it as a place of worship, throughout all of history, until the ominous Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917."
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Note: This article was also published in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Dec. 18, 2012.
PA minister: Israel "spilled blood" in Gaza to gain advantage in upcoming Israeli elections 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Nov. 16, 2012
On Nov. 14, 2012, Israel launched an aerial offensive in the Gaza Strip called Operation Pillar of Defense, with the aim of crippling the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and protecting Israeli civilians from Hamas rocket fire. 
PA Minister of Religious Affairs Al-Habbash said that one of Israel's goals with the operation is
"to use the Palestinian blood spilled in the streets of Gaza in the Israeli election game."
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PA Minister of Religious Affairs encourages Ribat in Friday sermon 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 17, 2012
Friday sermon delivered by Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash. In audience: PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas; Secretary General of the Presidential Office, Al-Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim; Jibril Rajoub.
     Al-Habbash: "This [Al-Aqsa] mosque will remain a mosque. We will not abandon this soil; we will not abandon this land; we will not abandon this mosque. We will remain in it, we will live in it and we will die in it. We will resist through our presence upon our land. We will resist through Ribat (religious conflict/war to defend Islamic land) and resolve; we will resist by building, and we will resist by every means... Ribat upon this land is an honor… Yesterday, this occupation perpetrated a crime. It was carried out by one of the members of the terror movements, who are referred to as the so-called 'settlers'. These settlers are all – all of them – terrorists; terrorists in the full sense of the word. Every settler who lives upon Palestinian land, who steals Palestinian land, is a terrorist."
Minister of Religious Affairs: The "owners of Jerusalem" are the Muslims and Christians 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 10, 2012
Friday sermon, speaker: Minister of Religious Affairs, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Habbash
Present in audience: President Mahmoud Abbas; Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, Secretary General of the Presidential Office.

     Al-Habbash: "The Arabs and Muslims, all of them… are invited to come to Jerusalem, to come to Al-Aqsa [Mosque], in order to tell the whole world: This mosque is ours; we will not abandon it, nor will we abandon the Palestinian people in its struggle [against] the schemes to harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In its struggle against the schemes and the plans, which aim to alter the landmarks of Jerusalem and the landmarks of the Al-Aqsa Mosque… Israel does not want the Muslims and the Arabs in Jerusalem. Are we acceding to what it wants? Are we acceding to its [Israel’s] desire, to separate Jerusalem from its owners? The owners of Jerusalem are all the Muslims and all the Christians in the east and the west of the country. Jerusalem is today in great danger… A few days ago we heard some nonsense that has no legal or religious value. It was said by one of the Israeli MPs who wants to propose a law to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews. Simply and firmly [I say] – this is a recipe for blood, fire, and war… No one can imagine that a single centimeter of the Al-Aqsa Mosque will belong to non-Muslims, not even a single millimeter, not even a breath in the Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to someone who is not Muslim… These calls and statements are a great danger. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger. These [MPs] are trying to claim a false right to this mosque for themselves … Anyone who wants to harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque will burn himself and destroy himself… These worthless calls, uttered by some of the worthless Israeli MPs – we will trample them. They have no value, they are not even worth the dust that our feet tread upon anywhere in this world."
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