image Photo: Flash90

Hamas threatens Israel over Al Aqsa

The latest vow was issued by the Islamist terror group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh.

By Erin Viner

In a letter reportedly sent to Muslim world and Arab world leaders, Haniyeh referred to policies of the “Zionist regime and the recent provocative move by one its ministers,” reported the Al-Arab News reported.

Demanding immediate action and practical steps to “save al-Aqsa and stop the extremist and aggressive plans,” the Hamas political bureau chief repeating false and inflammatory claims aimed at sparking Palestinian violence against Israel.

“An imminent threat has been posed against holy sites in Palestine, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a new far-right government is taking charge of the Zionist regime,” he was cited as saying by the Iran-based International Quran News Agency.

The IQNA also quoted the firebrand leader as vowing that the so-called “Palestinian nation” would never accept “attempts at Judaization of Palestinian holy sites.”

The latest rhetoric from Haniyeh follows fury by Palestinians over a brief visit byr new Israeli National Security Minister, Member of Knesset (MK) Itamar Ben-Gvir to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday; followed by the firing of a missile at Israel by Palestinian Islamists in Gaza that fell short and instead landed in the Hamas-controlled territory.

The area is considered by the Jewish People as the holiest site in the world, also revered to Christians. It is regarded as the third most sacred site in Islam, following Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Muslims, who built the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque atop the ruins of the  biblical temples refer to the contested land as Haram al Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary. Symbolizing Palestinian statehood aspirationsit is the most sensitive site in their conflict with Israel.

Even though Israel regards the entirety of of Jerusalem as its eternal capital and the center of the Jewish faith, it has observed the “status quo” arrangement that existed prior to its reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six Day War, that bars Jewish prayer at the compound as not to ‘inflame Muslim anger.’ Religious worship on the al-Aqsa compound is restricted to Muslims, while Jews pray at the Western Wall nearby.

During his 15-minute visit, Ben-Gvir did not approach the mosque. An Israeli official stressed that he complied with an arrangement that allows non-Muslims to visit but not pray.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately issued a statement reiterating his commitment “to strictly maintaining the status quo, without changes, on the Temple Mount.”

“We will not be dictated to by Hamas,” added the statement, emphasizing that “the claim that a change has been made in the status quo is without foundation.”

While Ben-Gvir has visited the compound numerous times since his election to the Knesset in April 2021, his presence as a top minister carries far greater weight. Palestinians used the pretext of a visit to the site by then-Opposition Leader Ariel Sharon as one of the main triggers for the 2000-2005 Second Palestinian Intifada. That claim was later refuted by research showing the alleged planning of the violent campaign against Israel by then-Palestinian President and leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terror group, Yasser Arafat following failure of the United States-mediated 2000 Camp David Summit.

Israeli leaders have long and repeatedly stressed that the Jewish State works to preserve the freedom of worship to all faiths.