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PA: Israel planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
PA: Israel planning to destroy
the Al-Aqsa Mosque

"[Israel's] goal is to remove the Al-Aqsa Mosque,"
says PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash and other PA leaders, including Chairman Mahmoud Abbas

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash said last week on PA TV that Israel has as systematic plan to remove the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the PA actively promotes religious hatred by spreading this libel. With almost 100% of Palestinians saying that religion plays an "important or somewhat important role in their lives", the claim that Israel plans to destroy Palestinian and Muslim holy sites is highly inflammatory.

This libel was repeated by Mahmoud Al-Habbash last week on official PA TV:

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
"Israel is following a systematic, gradual plan supported by the Israeli government and protected by the Israeli army, and its goal - I'm telling you - is not to divide Al-Aqsa (i.e., the Temple Mount)."
PA TV host: "To extend its sovereignty over Al-Aqsa."
Al-Habbash: "Its goal is to remove the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Host: "As the final goal."
Al-Habbash: "As the final goal, they don't want to see the shining, golden, elegant Dome of the Rock." [Official PA TV, Feb. 25, 2014]
Click to view

The PA has been promoting this libel for years. Mahmoud Abbas has also expressed this libel:
Mahmoud Abbas:
"[Israel's actions in Jerusalem] ultimately aim to achieve dark goals: Destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the alleged Temple take over the Muslim and Christian holy sites, and destroy its [Jerusalem's] institutions in order to empty it, uproot its residents, and continue its occupation and Judaization.'
Abbas' statement also said that all of Israel's archeological digs and tunnels... will not change the reality of the city...
and will not produce a [Jewish] right based and illusions and legends.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 22, 2012]

Last week, PMW documented that PA religious leaders hold the opinion that Jews must not pray at the Western Wall, saying that only Palestinians have a right to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings. The PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein also recently spoke of Israel's "threat of destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque to establish the alleged Temple on its ruins." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 26, 2014]

At a PA government meeting in September 2013, chaired by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Israel was accused of planning "to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews, as part of Israel's frantic attempts to build the alleged Temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 18, 2013]

A Palestinian daily portrayed Israel as an octopus eating the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. [Al-Ayyam, Oct. 13, 2013]

The official PA TV News has reported that PA experts on the Al-Aqsa Mosque structure say that Israel spreads chemicals at Al-Aqsa foundations in order to destroy it:

PA TV News host: "Experts on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem issues warned that there are traces of chemicals under Al-Aqsa, which the occupation authorities are using in intensified excavations around the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to dissolve them."
Narrator: "Israel's policies and schemes have never stopped and will never stop in Al-Aqsa's courtyards and surroundings in order to harm [the Mosque's] Arabness and holiness. What is new this time is the discovery of traces of dangerous chemicals in the Al-Aqsa foundations and [the discovery of] other solvents used to cause the foundations to crumble and collapse in accordance with [Israel's] step-by-step plans."
[Official PA TV Aug. 3, 2012]

Click to view

The official PA daily reported the same story and explained that Israel spreads the chemicals at night but removes the traces during the day:
"The expert on Al-Aqsa mosque structure and Jerusalem Affairs, Engineer Jammal Amr, has warned that traces of dangerous chemicals have been found in the foundations of the Al-Aqsa mosque. He also emphasized that Israeli occupation forces use substances that induce dissolving in their excavations under Al-Aqsa, in order to fracture the [mosque's] foundations and bring about its collapse... There are [Israeli] specialists spreading the chemicals at night, and removing the traces during the day."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 3, 2012]

Secretary General of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, Tayseer Tamimi, said when he was PA Chief Religious Justice that because Israel was removing the foundations the mosque was "hanging in midair":

"The [Israeli] excavations' purpose is to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In fact, its foundations have been removed. Chemical acids were injected into the rocks to dissolve them. The soil and the pillars [were removed] so the mosque is hanging in midair. There is an Israeli plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to build the Temple."
[PA TV, June 9, 2009]

Click to view

When PA leaders and media mention the Al-Aqsa Mosque they refer to the entire Temple Mount, including the Western Wall. The golden "Dome of the Rock" that Al-Habbash referred to, is not the Al-Aqsa Mosque but is situated on the Temple Mount plaza.

The PA's Al-Aqsa libel has been actively promoted since 1998. Click to see more examples on PMW's website.

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