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PA PM: Al-Aqsa is under attack, Israel has not found any Jewish artifacts there, we will remain loyal to Martyrs and prisoners

Headline: “Shtayyeh: Today we are dealing with wars that the US and Israel have forced upon us, but we will not be defeated”

“[PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several world presidents and leaders, took part in the inauguration of the Camlica Mosque – the largest mosque in Turkey – in the Asian part of Istanbul yesterday [May 3, 2019].

Shtayyeh said during his speech at the ceremony: ‘The Al-Aqsa Mosque is being subjected today to a powerful attack by the Israeli settlers who are waging three battles against us: the geographic battle, the demographic battle, and the battle of the narratives. The battle for the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the battle of the narratives, for after more than 50 years of excavations under the Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic., Israel does not excavate under the Al-Aqsa Mosque; see note below), Israel has not found anything that strengthens its narrative about it’ (sic., numerous Jewish archaeological artifacts have been found at the Temple Mount)…

Shtayyeh continued: ‘Today we are dealing with wars that the US and Israel have forced upon us. A political war that is being expressed in the deal of the century (refers to US President Donald Trump’s as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan –Ed.) and a financial war to dry up the PA’s financial sources (apparently refers to US Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 and Israeli Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law; see notes below –Ed.). But we will not be defeated, and we will remain loyal to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, the prisoners, and the Martyrs (Shahids); Palestine will remain the center of the conflict in the region, and without a resolution of the Palestinian cause there will be no peace in the region.’”

Excavations under the Temple Mount - The Israeli daily Haaretz has stated that the excavations do not reach beneath the mosque: "Despite complaints from the Islamic Movement and Palestinian groups, not a single dig penetrates beneath the [Temple] Mount." [Haaretz, May 24, 2016]

Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 - Among other things, this law gives US courts the jurisdiction to seize assets from any body that receives foreign aid from the US government, viewing their acceptance of US foreign aid as consent to US jurisdiction. This enables past and present victims of terror to successfully pursue lawsuits in US courts against such bodies that were connected in any way to the acts of terror. In the past many such cases have been thrown out due to lack of US jurisdiction. The law took effect on Feb. 1, 2019. In response to the law, the PA requested that the US end all of its foreign aid to the PA, which it did.

Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA.  The law was enacted by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018, and its first implementation was approved by Israel's Security Cabinet on Feb. 17, 2019, when it decided to withhold 502,697,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $138 million) from the PA. In response, the PA announced it would not accept any of the tax money collected by Israel unless it also included the frozen amount.  During the initial parliamentary vote in 2018, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018]

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