PA top official: Temple Mount "is Islamic only to which non-Muslims have no right – not the Jews nor anyone else"
Headline: “Al-Habbash: The Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic mosque only”
“[PA] Supreme Shari’ah Judge of Palestine and [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas’] Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash said that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic mosque only to which non-Muslims have no right – not the Jews nor anyone else.
In a statement he issued this evening, Sunday [April 17, 2022], Al-Habbash emphasized that the [Israeli] government of settlers in the occupation state is adding fuel to the fire and attempting in all ways to cause an explosion of the situation in Jerusalem, out of a desire to impose a new situation on the Jerusalem Noble Sanctuary (i.e., the Temple Mount). This situation includes a division [of the mosque between Jews and Muslims] according to times and areas and a change of the status quo, in order to serve the process of Judaization and the plans to empty the holy city [of Jerusalem] of the Palestinians, its original owners and residents.
He emphasized that our people will defend Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the height of determination for the sake of justice and to defend the honor.He also said that the occupation’s plans will fail as they have failed in the past, and that this occupation will pass from our city and from our Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In response to statements issued by the office of [Israeli] occupation Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to which Jews will be permitted to visit the Noble Sanctuary and carry out Talmudic (i.e., Jewish) prayers there (sic., Jews were not given permission to pray at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism), Al-Habbash emphasized that these statements constitute insistence on causing an escalation and a continuation of aggression in order to commit additional crimes against those carrying out Ribat (i.e., religious conflict over land claimed to be Islamic) and the worshippers at the Jerusalem Noble Sanctuary.”
Mahmoud Al-Habbash also serves as Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice. In August 2019 PA Chairman Abbas dismissed all his advisors by Presidential decree. It is unclear what their status is today.
“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.