FILE – Head of the political bureau of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh
CAIRO – 12 December 2017: Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, hailed the position of Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmad al-Tayeb and other Al-Azhar scholars on Tuesday for rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a phone conversation with Tayeb, Haniyeh expressed his high appreciation for the refusal of the grand imam to meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in protest against the U.S. decision, according to a statement by Haniyeh's office.
The Hamas leader hailed Egypt’s position, stating that Al-Azhar has always expressed the pulse of the nation throughout history, indicating that it is the custodian of the pillars of the nation.
Tayeb stressed that the position of Al-Azhar is alongside the Palestinian people and their steadfastness, rights and resistance, pointing out that he was in a meeting with Al-Azhar scholars to study the developments of the Jerusalem case.
He also pointed out that Al-Azhar will call for holding an expanded Islamic conference in Cairo and that invitations will be directed to Palestinian leaders from different sides to participate in the conference.
On Friday, Tayeb announced his rejection to meet with Pence, saying, "How can I sit with those who granted what they do not own to those who do not deserve it."
On Wednesday night, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a televised speech from the White House. Trump’s decision was met by a barrage of criticism and condemnations from many Arab and world leaders, while protests took place in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and different parts of the Arab world.