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PA promoting religious war
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PA promoting religious war

 
Caption: "The next explosion"
On grenade: "The Middle East"
On Jew's suit: "Excavations"
[Website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission, July 28, 2015]

by Itamar Marcus

One of the most dangerous libels promoted by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah is that Israel is planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, this libel has been disseminated by the PA for many years and increases occasionally, often appearing alongside calls by the PA to increase "popular resistance." According the the PA, this includes rioting, stone throwing and other attacks against Israelis.

The above cartoon posted by Fatah shows a Jew trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and warns of religious war. The Jew in the cartoon has the word "excavations" written on his suit. The PA adamantly opposes excavations near the Temple Mount and in the City of David because the many archaeological finds in those areas related to Jewish history expose the falsehood of PA claims that Jews never lived in Jerusalem and that there never was a Jewish Temple. The PA therefore charges that the excavations are intended to cause the Mosque to collapse.

Two other recent cartoons, one posted by Fatah and the other in the PA official daily, likewise depict Israel destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In one cartoon, an Israeli soldier is cutting the dome off the Dome of the Rock. In the other, Israeli PM Netanyahu is digging up the foundation of Al-Aqsa Mosque with a bulldozer:

 
 
   
 
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 29, 2015 and Oct. 18, 2014; Fatah-run Awdah TV, July 29, 2015
[Website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission, June 16, 2015]

Last month, in the period leading up to the recent riots by Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the PA had increased the frequency of this libel. PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is, who is appointed by PA Chairman Abbas, claimed that Israel is carrying out an "evil plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple":


PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is: "Indeed, the Israeli establishment insists on carrying out its evil plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple. This is [done] by establishing facts on the ground, for the Muslims, so they will accept the inevitability of the situation. Every month there are invasions (i.e., visits by Jews to the Temple Mount). Last month, there were more than 184 invasions into places of worship, and especially into the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque [plaza] (i.e., the Temple Mount), as the Israeli establishment allows the herds of settlers to enter the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque [plaza] daily - which provokes the feelings of Muslims - under protection of the Israeli occupation police."
[Official PA TV, July 8, 2015]
Click to view

The PA incites Palestinians to reject religious tolerance by defining any presence of Jews on the Temple Mount as an "invasion." Jews who want to visit the Temple Mount are considered to be "defiling" the "pure" Islamic holy site.

The highest religious authority in the PA, Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, presented Jews' wish to visit the Temple Mount as a "desecration" and "continuing attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque," which he interpreted as indicating "an impending religious war." He encouraged Palestinians to defend the mosque and "thwart the escalating Israeli calls to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque [plaza] and hold Talmudic ceremonies (i.e., Jewish prayers) in its pure courtyards":

"[The Mufti] explained that the continuing attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, its desecration, and the encouragement of the extremists to visit it, indicate an impending religious war... The Mufti called on worshippers... to make every effort to visit it [the mosque] and strengthen their presence in it, in order to protect it from the ongoing and increasing attacks against it.
In addition, he stressed that our people will tenaciously hold onto their mosque, regardless of the cost and sacrifices it would take, until the day Allah inherits the land and everything on it. The Mufti called on the Arab nation and the Islamic nation to carry out their duty and protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem, and to assist them with every means at their disposal in order to protect the purity of the Holy City and prevent the vigorous attempts to desecrate, falsify [its character] and Judaize it."
[WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), July 13, 2015
and Al-Ayyam, July 14, 2015]

The PA solution to Jewish visits to the Temple Mount is to increase violence there and eventually get rid of any Jewish presence there, as is shown in this cartoon broadcast on Fatah-run Awdah TV and posted on the Facebook page of Palestinian National Security Forces:

[Fatah-run Awdah TV, July 17, 2015; Facebook page of the
Palestinian National Security Forces, Nov. 8, 2014]

 
Click to view more examples of the PA promoting the libel that Israel is attempting to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Click to view more examples of the PA defining the conflict with Israel as a religious war.

The following is a longer excerpt of the article quoting the PA Mufti mentioned above:

Headline: "PA Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein calls to increase visits to Al-Aqsa"
"PA Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories and preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein called to increase visits to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to thwart the escalating Israeli calls to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque [plaza] and hold Talmudic ceremonies (i.e., Jewish prayers) in its pure courtyards. This was after the extremist Temple organizations called on their supporters to organize a Jewish demonstration in front of the Golden Gate (in Jerusalem's old city walls -Ed.) this Tuesday [July 14, 2015], the 27th of Ramadan, in order to demand that the Al-Aqsa Mosque [plaza] be closed to all Muslims during the anniversary of the so-called 'destruction of the Temple.' (i.e.,Tisha B'Av - see note).
The Mufti considered this call a dangerous escalation, and explained that the continuing attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, its desecration, and the encouragement of the extremists to visit it, indicate an impending religious war.
In addition, he stated that the calls and the aggressive plans inciting to desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its courtyards and to harm it have increased during the month of Ramadan. The Mufti called on worshippers from Jerusalem and the 1948 territories (i.e., Israel) and anyone who is able to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque from across the homeland, to make every effort to visit it and strengthen their presence in it, in order to protect it from the ongoing and increasing attacks against it.
In addition, he stressed that our people will tenaciously hold onto their mosque, regardless of the cost and sacrifices it would take, until the day Allah inherits the land and everything on it.
The Mufti called on the Arab nation and the Islamic nation to carry out their duty and protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem, and to assist them with every means at their disposal in order to protect the purity of the Holy City and prevent the vigorous attempts to desecrate, falsify [its character] and Judaize it."
[WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), July 13, 2015
and Al-Ayyam, July 14, 2015]

"Alleged Temple organizations” refers ‎to religious Jewish movements, including the ‎Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, The ‎Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount ‎initiative and Students for the Temple Mount, ‎which spread awareness of the importance of ‎the Temple Mount in Judaism and encourage ‎people to visit the Temple Mount.

Tisha B'Av is a Jewish day of mourning, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples (BCE 586 and CE 70) in Jerusalem and the forced exile of all Jews from the land of Israel.