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PA minister: Jews are “criminal infidels” who “defile” Muslim holy sites

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
  • PA Minister of Religious Affairs asks Allah to “purify” Muslim holy sites “from the defilement of the criminal infidels” - on eve of Jewish New Year
  • PA: Jews at the Temple Mount are “infidels” who invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque
  • Abbas’ spokesman: The Western Wall and the Temple Mount are “a pure right of the Muslims only”
  • PA minister repeats libel: Israel wants to “eliminate the Al-Aqsa Mosque”
  • Fatah: Jews are openly planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque

In anticipation of the large number of Jews who would visit the Western Wall to celebrate the Jewish New Year this past weekend, the Palestinian Authority attacked Jews as “infidels” who would “defile” the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In a televised sermon on the eve of the Jewish New Year, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Hatem Al-Bakri preached that “criminal” Jewish “infidels” would “defile” the Muslim holy sites and prayed that Allah would purify the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Cave of the Patriarchs: 

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Hatem Al-Bakri: Allah, purify the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Ibrahimi Mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs) from the defilement of the criminal infidels, O Master of the Universe.”

[Official PA TV, Sept. 15 2023]

A Fatah’s spokesperson stated that the Jews have always “secretly plotted” to harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque and warned that they are now planning to destroy it:

 

“Fatah Spokesperson in Jerusalem Muhammad Rabia: [In the past the Jews] secretly plotted and prepared projects and plans, which targeted the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Today this is being carried out openly by bringing the red heifers that they [the Jews] will slaughter and scatter their ashes… to purify themselves and allow them to break into the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. They are dividing [the mosque] according to time and area, and now they are planning to destroy the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.

[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Sept. 4, 2023]

PA minister Al-Bakri repeated this recently:
 

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Hatem Al-Bakri: “There is a plan by the occupation that has targeted this site [the Al-Aqsa Mosque]. This plan was prepared 50 years before the establishment of the State of Israel [in 1948]. They prepared these plans, and they are carrying them out every day. They are attempting to reach the final point, which iseliminating the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the acts of harm are continuing against all the Christian and Muslim holy sites.”

[Official PA TV News, Aug. 21, 2023]

The Islamic religious leadership in Jerusalem has also exhorted Palestinians to take actions to prevent Jews from “defiling” the Muslim sites, completely ignoring the fact that the Temple Mount is one of Judaism’s holy sites:

“The Islamic organizations in Jerusalem... called on every Palestinian and Muslim who can to carry out Ribat (i.e., religious conflict over land claimed to be Islamic) in the alleys, houses of worship, benches, and plazas of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque / the Noble Jerusalem Sanctuary (i.e., the Temple Mount), with its entire territory that stands at 144 dunams (144,000 sq. meters), so that it will remain pure of the infidels’ defilement and precious and pure for the Muslims only, as Allah granted them in the holy Quran.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, July 27, 2023]

Spokesperson for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeina, has likewise denied Jews any right to pray at the Western Wall or visit the Temple Mount, categorizing the sites as “a pure right of the Muslims only”:

Official Spokesperson for the [PA] Presidential Office Nabil Abu Rudeina… emphasized that the Israeli attempts to change the historical status quo in Jerusalem are unacceptable and fated to fail. He also emphasized that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque isa pure right of the Muslims only.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, July 27, 2023]

Similarly, Abbas’ Fatah condemned Jews at the Western Wall who were part of an anti-judicial reform group, as “invading settlers”:

Posted text: “Settlers invade the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall of the Temple Mount) and hold Talmudic (i.e., Jewish) prayers this morning in occupied Jerusalem.”

[Fatah Commission of Information and Culture,
Facebook page, July 23, 2023]

Palestinian Media Watch has shown that the PA intentionally mislabels Judaism’s holiest site - the entire Temple Mount and the Western Wall - as “the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” and defines all Jews who visit or come to pray as “invading settlers” who “break in” and “defile” the mosque.

Additionally, it should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount are restricted to specific sections of the open areas and are barred from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount is prohibited because of threats of terrorism by Palestinians.

 

To combat the “defilement” of “extremist settlers,” the Palestinian National Council - the legislative body of the PLO - called for violence and terror, using the PA euphemism “resistance,” vowing that “Palestine” will be liberated.

The following are longer excerpts of the statements cited above:

Headline: “The Islamic organizations in Jerusalem condemned the invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the occupation and its settlers”

“The Islamic organizations in Jerusalem… emphasized their insistence on opposing the unfair Israeli measures against the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, its visitors, its guards, and the worshippers. The organizations called on every Palestinian and Muslim who can to carry out Ribat (i.e., religious conflict over land claimed to be Islamic) in the alleys, houses of worship, benches, and plazas of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque / the Noble Jerusalem Sanctuary (i.e., the Temple Mount), with its entire territory that stands at 144 dunams (144,000 sq. meters -Ed.), so that it will remain pure of the infidels’ defilement and precious and pure for the Muslims only, as Allah granted them in the holy Quran.

[WAFA, official PA news agency, July 27, 2023]

The Islamic organizations in Jerusalem are:

The Islamic Waqf Council (Jordanian)

The PA’s Supreme Muslim Council

The Palestinian Dar Al-Ifta (i.e., the official PA body for issuing religious rulings headed PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein)

The Office of the PA Supreme Shari'ah Judge

The PA’s Islamic Waqf and blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department


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.

“Official Spokesperson for the [PA] Presidential Office Nabil Abu Rudeina… emphasized that the Israeli attempts to change the historical status quo in Jerusalem are unacceptable and fated to fail. He also emphasized that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is a pure right of the Muslims only, and Jerusalem and the holy sites are a red line that cannot be allowed to be crossed under any circumstances.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, July 27, 2023]

Nabil Abu Rudeina also serves as PA Deputy Prime Minister, PA Minister of Information, Fatah Commissioner of Information, Culture, and Ideology, and Fatah Central Committee member.

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 a "break-in." 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, former 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.