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Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council emphasized that the Temple Mount "belongs to the Muslims only"

Headline: “The Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council in response to Kushner: The Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to the Muslims only”

 

 

 

 

The Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council emphasized that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to the Muslims only, and that no one shares it with them. It added that whoever arrives through the legal Palestinian gate or through the government of sister Jordan can visit it…and not through normalization with the occupation authorities (refers to Israel-UAE peace agreement that calls to allow freer access for Muslims worldwide to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque; see note below –Ed.).

 

This was said in a statement issued by the Fatwa Council following a meeting it held led by [PA] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories and [Palestinian] Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. This was in response to the statements of American President [Donald Trump’s] Advisor Jared Kushner, who said: ‘The Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to the monotheistic religions, and the believers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have the right to carry out all their religious ceremonies inside it, subject to a division between them on the basis of times and areas (sic., PMW found no records of Kushner making this statement; for the apparent source of the misquote see note below).’ …

 

In the same context, the council condemned extremist settlers ascending the roof of the Ibrahimi Mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs) while waving Israeli flags and signs with provocative slogans above its walls. It emphasized that the Ibrahimi Mosque is Islamic, and it is meant for the prayer and worship of Muslims only. It also said that the occupation authorities bear responsibility for the consequences of this desecration of the mosque.”

 

 

 

 

Muhammad Hussein also serves as Deputy Secretary-General and acting Secretary-General of the PLO Popular National Conference of Jerusalem.

 

The mention of US Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner apparently refers to a statement by “Jerusalem affairs expert” Ziyad Bheis that seems to have been taken out of context by the Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council as a quote from Kushner. Al-Jazeera reported: “Jerusalem affairs expert Ziyad Bheis thinks that Kushner – and Israel behind him – believes that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the right of all the monotheistic religions, and that the believers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have the right to carry out all their religious ceremonies inside it, subject to a division between them on the basis of times and areas.” [Al-Jazeera website, Aug. 20, 2020]

 

Israeli peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain – an agreement normalizing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), called the Abraham Accords, was announced on Aug. 13, 2020, under the mediation of US President Donald Trump. Following the UAE, Bahrain signed a similar peace agreement with Israel, as was announced on Sept. 11, 2020. Pursuant to the Abraham Accords, Israel and the UAE will discuss bilateral cooperation on a number of topics. In exchange for the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its previously announced plans to apply Israel's civilian law to parts of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley as per the Trump peace plan. The US announced that “Muslims throughout the world who wish to come in peace to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, will now be able to fly to Tel Aviv through Abu Dhabi to do so and will be welcomed.”

 

“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.