Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem, has warned that comments by the Israeli Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, concerning the right of Jews to enter the Temple Mount and pray there, are “dangerous.”
Hussein said on Tuesday that Danino’s statements reflect Israel’s true intentions regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and therefore must not be ignored.
He added that the systematic damage done by Israel towards the holy places to Islam contradicts international law and that Muslims are obligated to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque from a Jewish plan to build a Holy Temple on the ruins of Al-Aqsa.
Hussein called on Muslims to come to Al-Aqsa en masse and protect it from the alleged Israeli attack. The whole world, he said, must help the Palestinian Authority deal with "the aggression of the occupation."
The remarks come as Fatah’s armed branch, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, has declared war and announced that it would give the “green light” to terrorist attacks targeting Israelis beginning on Friday.
Fatah is headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas who in recent weeks has been negotiating with Israel for the creation of a PA state.
The reason given for the planned resumption of open hostilities was Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, which the group termed, “The invasion of the compound by hordes of settlers, and the harm to [Muslim] worshipers, with no intervention from the international community.”
Tensions have been high on the Temple Mount in recent weeks, with many Jewish visitors to the holy site reporting harassment and violence at the hands of groups of Muslims.
The Temple Mount is the holiest place on earth according to Judaism. The site is currently run by the Muslim Waqf. Jews are allowed to visit only during limited hours, and are forbidden to pray on the Mount.
Muslim leaders have denounced Jewish visits to the Temple Mount and have repeatedly accused Israel and Jews of attempting to harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Hussein’s remarks about the alleged Israeli plan to build a Temple instead of the mosque are a repetition of similar claims made by PA leaders, including Abbas himself, in the past.
Police responded to recent Muslim violence by closing the Temple Mount to Jews, a step commanders argued was necessary in order to keep the peace.