Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniya - CC via wikimedia
CAIRO – 26 July 2017: Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniya addressed Arab and Muslim leaders Wednesday following the recent violations by Israel against Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli occupation is “determined to execute its plan” to fully control Al-Aqsa Mosque and to divide it between Palestinians and Israelis, Haniya said. Furthermore, he said that the occupation is attempting to curtail the responsibility of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem and is trying to dedicate itself as the sole reference and administrator of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued many vital resolutions on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, said Haniya, adding that it is now time to activate these resolutions and support the Palestinian people in Jerusalem. He added that Arab and Islamic governments can pressure the Israeli occupation to refrain from its “illegal measures” in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque through international channels, such as isolating the occupation and cutting all ties with Israel until it is prosecuted for its crimes against the Palestinian people and the holy sites.
“Today we have a historic opportunity to press the occupation by comprehensive official and popular efforts to stop its attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Haniya said in reference to the various activities taking place in several capitals in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Haniya concluded his statement by saying that the Palestinian people are looking to Arab and Muslim leaders to support them in their struggle against the Israeli occupation that is “trying to erase the Islamic and Arab identity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Haniya’s statement came in light of the Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Aqsa compound following the killing of three Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers at Al-Aqsa compound on July 14. Israel forced new security measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque that included placing metal detection gates, self inspection of Palestinian worshippers, and installing smart surveillance cameras to inspect the faces of Palestinians entering the Mosque and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
On Tuesday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, supported by the Israeli Cabinet of Ministers, instructed the Israeli forces to remove the metal detection gates following popular pressure from Palestinians and negotiations with Jordan.
The Jordanian-Israeli negotiations did not include the smart surveillance cameras that the Palestinians are also rejecting as they demand the situation in Jerusalem to return to the “status-quo” before July 14.
On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced dismissing all relations with the Israeli side including the security coordination. “All new Israeli measures on the ground from 14 July until today should be removed, then things will return to normal in Jerusalem and we will then resume our work concerning bilateral relations,” said Abbas at the start of a meeting with the Palestinian leadership.
On Monday, United Nations Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned that a solution was needed by Friday on the Al-Aqsa crisis that threatens to create potential catastrophic cists beyond the walls of the Old City, according to the MidEast Qartet Envoys Joint Statement on escalating tensions and violent clashes in and around old city of Jerusalem.
The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday and urged the Israeli authorities to remove the metal detection gates from Al-Aqsa Mosque entrances.