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Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs claims Israel plans to carry out a massacre inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque


“The [Egyptian] news website Sada Al-Balad met with Palestinian [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor [on Religious and Islamic Affairs] and Supreme Shari’ah Judge of Palestine Dr. Mahmoud Al-Habbash in order to discuss the recent developments in the Palestinian situation…

[Question:] What are the consequences of the Israeli government’s decision to allow settlers to conduct their religious ceremonies at the Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic., no such decision has been made, but a law has been proposed in Israel to divide the Temple Mount into areas and times that would allow for both Jews and Muslims to pray there, see note below)?

[Al-Habbash:] Israel wants to move its battle against Jerusalem to an advanced stage by allowing the Israeli settlers to conduct their religious ceremonies within the Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic., Jews who visit the Temple Mount do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself and are not allowed to pray there.) Historically speaking, worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been limited only to Muslims, and it is an exclusive right of the Muslims. However, visiting the mosque has been open to everyone, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and that is what has been since the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967 – worship has been permitted to the Muslims and visits to everyone. Israel wants to move its battle against Jerusalem to an advanced stage, and is now organizing not only visits, but also attacks and violations by the Israeli settlers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. From 2000 until today, these violations have been committed with the protection of the Israeli police and the Israeli occupation force, but without them allowing them to conduct any religious ceremony. Now, Israel wants to move to a new stage and allow them to conduct religious ceremonies within the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The meaning of this decision is that a real massacre will be committed within the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, because we will not submit, and no Arab or Muslim with a drop of honor and religion could submit, be silent, or agree to non-Islamic ceremonies being conducted within the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, this will lead to a decisive position from the Palestinians, and the Palestinian leadership is concerned that Israel is liable to use this to commit a massacre against the Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and afterwards will turn to imposing facts on the ground, as it has done at the Ibrahimi Mosque
(i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs, refers to Israeli measures following a massacre against Muslims there, see note below) – in other words, the division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque according to areas and times, and establishing a fixed Israeli presence within the mosque.”

The PA and its leaders consider all of the Temple Mount an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore they view any presence of Jews on the mount as an "attack." It should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount only enter some sections of the open areas, and do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock.

Cave of the Patriarchs massacre - On Feb. 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a member of an Israeli far-right movement, opened fire on Muslims praying inside the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, known to Muslims as the "Ibrahimi Mosque," murdering 29 and wounding 125. Following the attack, which was widely condemned by Israeli leaders and Jewish communities abroad, the Israeli government took concrete steps to prevent similar attacks from occurring by dividing the area of worship into Muslim and Jewish sections and designating several extremist movements, including Goldstein’s, as illegal terrorist groups.

It should be noted that they can only go there, but not pray - Only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.

"Division according to areas and times" refers to a proposed law (May 2013) being reviewed in Israeli Parliament that would allow for both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount, what the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza. The law seeks to designate separate prayer times and areas of the site for Muslims and Jews.
However, Israeli PM Netanyahu has stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, which means Jews are allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but cannot pray there or engage in any type of worship.
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