Jun 30, 2022
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PA officials threaten religious war over Jews visiting the Temple Mount and alleged “division of prayer times” between Muslim and Jewish worshippers: 

  • “This will be tantamount to an attack on a billion Muslims in the world – which means the buds of a religious war… He added: ‘The religious war will not stop at the borders of the region and the borders of the Palestinian people, but rather will reach the US, Europe, and the entire world” 
  • “Continued invasion (i.e., Jews visiting) will turn the conflict into a religious war that will exterminate everything” 

Israel’s actions in Jerusalem will lead to a “religious war… [that] will reach the US, Europe, and the entire world,” and “will exterminate everything.” These are threats coming from PA Chairman Abbas’ official spokesmen and advisors. However, all these PA warnings and threats are based on libels and lies.

The libel that Israel is planning the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to build a Jewish Temple in its place is one of the most potent and long-standing PA libels. As a prelude to this alleged Israeli plan, the PA claims Israel is also preparing a “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount – what the PA refers to as the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza and defines as “belonging only to Muslims.” The alleged division would allow Jews and Muslims to pray at the site in separate places and at separate times. This would constitute a change in what is perceived to be the so-called “status quo” at the site, 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.

Answering the incessant PA claims that the “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount is an actual Israeli plan, former Israeli PM Netanyahu has stated numerous times that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the status quo.

In July 2021, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett confirmed that “there is no change in the status quo.”

Regardless, the PA presents “the division according to times” to Palestinians as an actual Israeli plan and an imminent danger foreboding the establishment of “the alleged Temple” in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, the libel has propelled many a terror attack, and has been justified by Palestinians as the “defense of Al-Aqsa.”.” Recently, the libel was repeated on official PA TV:

Official PA TV host: “Since the June War (i.e., the Six-Day War in 1967) – we are talking about its 55th anniversary – there are [Israeli] intentions to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the alleged Temple, and [it is] not just a division according to times and areas that will befall the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

[Official PA TV, June 6, 2022]

Recently, one of PA Chairman Abbas’ advisors threatened that continued visits by Jews at the Temple Mount combined with a division of prayer times for Jews and Muslims will lead to something similar to World War III. PA Presidential Office Advisor on Jerusalem Affairs Ahmed Al-Ruweidi said that this would be “tantamount to an attack on a billion Muslims in the world” and would lead to a “religious war” that would “reach the entire world”:

“[PA] Presidential Office Advisor on Jerusalem Affairs Ahmed Al-Ruweidi said that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is holy to the Muslims… and therefore an attack on it is an attack on the Muslims’ faith. He emphasized that if the invasions and attacks (i.e., visits by Jews to the Temple Mount – Ed.) against the Al-Aqsa Mosque continue, and if Israel attempts to impose a division [between Jews and Muslims] according to [prayer] times, this will be tantamount to an attack on a billion Muslims in the world – which means the buds of a religious war… 

He added: ‘The religious war will not stop at the borders of the region and the borders of the Palestinian people, but rather will reach the US, Europe, and the entire world.” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 30, 2022]

Another top PA official, Nabil Abu Rudeina, who is PA Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Information, and official Spokesman of Abbas’ Presidential Office, likewise has threatened that Jews’ visits to the Temple Mount will lead to “religious war that will exterminate everything”

“Palestinian [PA] Presidential Office Official Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said that the daily break-ins by extremist Jews into the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and its plazas have become an invasion and not a visit. He added that they are denounced and unacceptable.

Abu Rudeina emphasized that the legal and historical status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque must be preserved, and he warned that continued invasion will turn the conflict into a religious war that will exterminate everything.” 

[WAFA, official PA news agency, June 6, 2022]

Religious PA officials often repeat that the Al-Aqsa Mosque “is for Muslims only,” as did the PA Mufti, the highest religious authority in the PA:

“[PA] Mufti of Jerusalem and preacher at the [Al-Aqsa] Mosque Sheikh Muhammad Hussein said from the Saladin [Al-Ayyubi] pulpit in the Southern Mosque (i.e., the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself)… ‘The [Al-Aqsa] Mosque belongs only to the Muslims, and we will not agree to partnership or division. The occupation’s measures will have no legal effect, and the mosque with all its parts in its total territory of 144 dunams (i.e., 144,000 sq. meters, which includes the Temple Mount and the Western Wall) belongs to the Muslims.’” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 4, 2022]

“The mufti of Jerusalem emphasized that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic mosque that belongs to the Muslims only, and that no one shares it with them.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 8, 2022]

“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.
Answering to the incessant PA claims that the “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount is an actual Israeli plan, former Israeli PM Netanyahu has stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the so-called status quo at 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 by many was understood as a hint to a change in 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.

The following are longer excerpts of the statements cited above: 

Headline: “Is Israel striving for a religious war?”

“[PA] Presidential Office Advisor on Jerusalem Affairs Ahmed Al-Ruweidi said that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is holy to the Muslims… and therefore an attack on it is an attack on the Muslims’ faith. He emphasized that if the invasions and attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque continue, and if Israel attempts to impose a division [between Jews and Muslims] according to times, this will be tantamount to an attack on a billion Muslims in the world – which means the buds of a religious war…

He added: ‘The religious war will not stop at the borders of the region and the borders of the Palestinian people, but rather will reach the US, Europe, and the entire world. The world must pressure Israel to cease its measures, so that [the world’s] fingers will not be burned and so that its territory will not burn. The truth is that Israel, which is striving for a religious war, is laying the groundwork for this.’ …

Al-Ruweidi emphasized that the occupation is attempting to implement a division according to times and areas at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and afterwards to establish the alleged Temple.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 30, 2022]

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. 

“Approximately 35,000 worshippers held Friday prayers yesterday, Friday [June 3, 2022], at the Al-Aqsa Mosque plazas…

[PA] Mufti of Jerusalem and preacher at the [Al-Aqsa] Mosque Sheikh Muhammad Hussein said from the Saladin [Al-Ayyubi] pulpit in the Southern Mosque (i.e., the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself)… ‘The [Al-Aqsa] Mosque belongs only to the Muslims, and we will not agree to partnership or division. The occupation’s measures will have no legal effect, and the mosque with all its parts in its total territory of 144 dunams (i.e., 144,000 sq. meters) belongs to the Muslims.’”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 4, 2022]

Muhammad Hussein also serves as Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman and Deputy Secretary-General and acting Secretary-General of the PLO Popular National Conference of Jerusalem. 

Headline: “Abu Rudeina: The daily break-ins into the Al-Aqsa Mosque have become an invasion and not a visit, they are a prelude to a religious war” 

“Palestinian [PA] Presidential Office Official Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said that the daily break-ins by extremist Jews into the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and its plazas have become an invasion and not a visit. He added that they are denounced and unacceptable.

Abu Rudeina emphasized that the legal and historical status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque must be preserved, and he warned that continued invasion will turn the conflict into a religious war that will exterminate everything.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, June 6, 2022]

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