Over 100,000 Arabs filled the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, on Tuesday for their holiday of Eid al Adha. Thousands more filled the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron while both sites were closed to Jews. Despite the supposed religious significance of the gathering, large banners displaying slogans for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, were on display.
Maor Tzemach, chairman of the Lach Yerushalayim organization denounced the display: “Freedom of worship is not freedom of incitement and terrorism,” Tzemach posted on Facebook. “The Israeli government that allows the freedom of incitement in the Temple Mount must fight the terrorists that are taking over the Temple Mount before blood is spilled in the streets of Jerusalem!”
Many in the crowd reportedly chanted, “We shall sacrifice our lives for Al-Aqsa.”
Eid al Adha is the four-day holiday when Muslims celebrate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael. The event is originally described in the Bible with the significant difference being that in the Bible, Abraham offers up his son Isaac. Many early Islamic scholars also held the belief that Isaac was the son that was offered on Mount Moriah. According to Jewish tradition, Mount Moriah, where the binding of Isaac took place, is synonymous with the Temple Mount.
The Al-Qassam Brigades were established in 1991 with the expressed purpose of creating a violent response intended to prevent the Oslo Accords from resulting in peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs. The Brigades claim as their goal that they seek to establish an Islamist state comprising Gaza and all of Israel, ending Israel as part of the process. The organization has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Israelis and now has rockets as part of its arsenal. The Al-Qassam Brigades are explicitly listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, and the United Kingdom. Though not explicitly mentioning IQB, the United States and Canada have designated its parent entity, Hamas, as a terrorist organization.