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PA official: Netanyahu’s visit to Cave of Patriarchs was “a desecration” of a holy Islamic-Palestinian site, he is turning conflict into “religious war”

Official PA TV, on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Hebron on Sept. 4, 2019

Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “This [Netanyahu’s visit to Hebron] is a crime. I said that this is a crime. We can do nothing but call it a crime, because this is a desecration of a sanctified site, the defilement of a pure site that Allah chose to be a mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs, which the Muslims refer to as the Ibrahimi Mosque). This crime has a clear meaning. [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu wants to deal in religion – even in the Jews’ principles of faith, even in the Jewish religion – he wants to deal in it in the Israeli election market. A second matter is the continuation of the policy, method, and long-term plan that is being carried out by Netanyahu’s policy and the policy of all the governments one after the other, and it is a continuation of the settlement and strengthening of the occupation. The majority of Hebron- its Palestinian residents – I will not say ‘the majority’ – with all its Palestinian residents; among them there are several dozens or hundreds of settlers who are defiling this city and stealing its Palestinian identity. Currently they want to establish the theft of part of the human heritage, part of the Islamic heritage. The Ibrahimi Mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs) was, is, and will remain an Islamic mosque and an Islamic-Palestinian site. There is no basis for all of the illogical claims in the occupation’s mind, according to which this is a Jewish place or a place that is sacred to the Jews. Why is it a place that is sacred to the Jews? Based on what? They say that Abraham is buried in the cave. Okay. Are they worthy of [claiming lineage from] Abraham? After all, those who are most worthy of Abraham’s [lineage] are those who followed his path, and they [the Jews] did not follow his path. The people most worthy of Abraham’s [lineage] are those who followed his path, and they are Prophet Muhammad and those who believed [in Islam]. We are the most worthy of [the lineage of] Abraham and all the prophets. By the way, the entire illogical and mythical Israeli narrative on this matter is invalid, has no basis in truth, and has no part in reality.”

Official PA TV host: “What does dealing in religion and falsifying the facts or falsifying religion lead to? After all, you personally have warned of a religious war.”

Mahmoud Al-Habbash:This is the most dangerous thing in this equation – turning the struggle between us and the Israeli occupation into a religious struggle. Perhaps some belittle the word ‘religious struggle’ and discount its meanings, results, and consequences – in other words, that there is a struggle between Judaism and Islam, and that is incorrect. We, as Muslims, are not in a struggle with anyone due to their faith or religion. Almighty Allah gave us a religious law in the noble Quran: ‘For you is your religion, and for me is my religion’ [Quran, Sura 109:6, Sahih International translation]. All are free people in their faith. Therefore, we are not entering into struggles on a religious basis, and we are not intervening in struggles whose source is a struggle between religions. But what is even more dangerous than this is that it is becoming a struggle between everyone who is Muslim and everyone who is Jewish. Not only at one point, Palestine, but rather in the entire world, such that every Jew becomes a target for every Muslim and every Muslim a target for every Jew.”

Host: “And that is the spark.”

Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “And that is the spark that will set the entire world on fire. The entire world will burn. The Muslims are everywhere in the world, and the Jews are too. What does Netanyahu want? He wants to set the world on fire for a few hundred or few dozen votes in the elections, and for mythical ideas that are being dealt in, which are nesting in his mind and through which he thinks that he can be the new king of Israel. The Israeli people and the Jews of the world must understand that this is a gamble on their wellbeing, security, and interests. Netanyahu is not just gambling on the Palestinians’ interests, but rather the interests of the Israelis and Jews who must take a firm stand against the haphazard policy that they are following.”

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