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PA, Fatah officials accuse Israel of trying to “Judaize” and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Headline: "Figures in Jerusalem: We will not let the occupation turn our holy sites into a test field for pleasing the settlers because of election considerations"

"Figures in Jerusalem, led by District Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith, [PA] Minister of Jerusalem Affairs [and PLO Executive Committee member] Adnan Al-Husseini, and Fatah Movement Secretary in Jerusalem Shadi Mattour, emphasized thatthe occupation is striving to gradually change the historical and legal reality at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque through the recurring and escalating invasions of the extremist settlers and the Israeli occupation forces…

District Governor Ghaith said that the occupation is investing efforts to impose a policy of a new status quo in occupied Jerusalem in general, and to change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular. This is not new to us, asthe occupation government has been striving for a long time to divide it according to areas and times, and to give the settlers a free hand to carry out more widespread invasions of the mosque led by [Israeli] ministers and parliament members, in a manner that is provocativeand contradicts all the regulations, conventions, and agreements with the Kingdom of Jordan.

He added that the Israeli extremist right-wing government is attempting from time to time toinvent all kinds of causes that target our holy sites in order to please the settlers out of Israeli election considerations, and which include harming the faithful and the protectors of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and invading the roofed prayer areas. This shows the occupation’s clear intention to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque by areas too, after its division by times.Ghaith explained that our people is viewing what is happening at the Al-Aqsa Mosque very gravely, and will not let the occupation turn the holy sites into a test field to take the pulse of the Jerusalem street. This is because the entire Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs only to the Muslims according to UN and UNESCO(UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) resolutions.The occupation government’s interference at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the attempt to reduce the role of the [Jordanian] Waqf, and the large extent of distancing [Palestinians] from the area of the Al-Aqsa Mosque confirm the occupation government’s intentions to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Judaize it…

Ghaith noted that the occupation government and its branches have not spared efforts to excavate tunnels and damage the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque buildings, and the placing of scaffolding at the Western Wall is nothing but part of the attempts to Judaize the Al-Aqsa Mosque.These, along with the excavation underneath it (sic., Israel does not excavate under the Temple Mount; see note below), all constitutedangerous signs of what is liable to happen to the Al-Aqsa Mosque buildings that are in danger of collapsing due to the excavations– and this is after some ancient trees within the mosque [compound] have already collapsed because of them. Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Al-Husseini said that that [the invasions] occurred yesterday [Jan. 17, 2019] are a confirmation of the occupation imposing its rule over Jerusalem, and that ‘they want to convey a message that they are in control of the situation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and are occupying it.’ 

He added that a [firm] Arab Islamic position is required as the mosque is Islamic and not just Palestinian, and not defending the mosque means its Judaization, it being turned into a Jewish synagogue, and its destruction.”

Adnan Al-Husseini also holds the position of head of the PLO Department of Jerusalem Affairs.

Break-in/Invasion/attack of Al-Aqsa Mosque - The PA and its leaders misrepresent all of the Temple Mount as an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, they vilify any presence of Jews on the mount as an "invasion." 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. Israeli police ban Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount because of threats of violence by Palestinians.

Division according to areas and times” refers to a submission of a “private bill” by Israeli MP Uri Ariel in March 2003. The bill suggested ensuring freedom of religious worship by allowing both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount - what the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza. The bill sought to designate separate prayer times and areas of the site for Muslims and Jews. The bill never progressed past the initial legislatory stage. While there was additional discussion on the subject in 2012, no legislation was ever passed. In response to the incessant PA claims that the “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount is an operative Israeli plan, former Israeli PM Netanyahu stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the so-called status quo on the Temple Mount, which de facto is interpreted to mean Jews are only allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but not to conduct individual or communal prayers there. In July 2021, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett said Muslims and Jews have freedom of worship at the Temple Mount, which was understood by many as a hint to changing the status quo at the site, but the following day his office backtracked and said he misspoke and did not mean Jews would have freedom of worship, but rather would have freedom to visit. “There is no change in the status quo,” a statement from PM Bennett’s office confirmed.y type of worship.

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]

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