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Radical Cleric: Israel Has Been 'Occupied Territory' Since 1948

Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel, claims that Israel is gradually "Judaizing" Jerusalem.
By Dalit Halevi and Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/7/2014, 6:14 AM

Temple Mount
Temple Mount
Flash 90

Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Raed Salah, claimed on Sunday that Israel is “land that has been occupied since 1948.”

Speaking to the Hamas journal Falastin, Al-Khatib claimed that Israel is taking advantage of the troubles in surrounding Arab countries to “Judaize” Jerusalem.

He attacked a plan to establish a synagogue not far from the Al-Aqsa mosque, noting that even the dome which is planned for the synagogue reflects Israel's attempt to “copy the architecture that has characterized the Islamic buildings for centuries.”

Al-Khatib accused Israel of acting towards a gradual implementation of sovereignty over Jerusalem, including shared the use of the Temple Mount among Jews and Muslims.

In light of this "threat" against Jerusalem, he stressed that "the protection of the Al-Aqsa mosque is not solely a task for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, residents who have been occupied since 1948 (referring to the State of Israel) and the Palestinian people themselves. It is the task of the entire Muslim and Arab world."

Al-Khatib called on the Palestinian Authority to stop the negotiations with Israel and expressed hope that “the Arab nation will rise as one man to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque and will abandon the mosque which is being desecrated, humiliated , defiled and Judaized.”

Several months ago, the same Al-Khatib warned of a possible internal conflict with "the Israeli occupation" and threatened a "huge eruption" if Israel intervened on the Temple Mount and continued, according to him, to bother the Muslims praying there.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site but is frequently closed to Jewish visitors and is often the site of anti-Jewish discrimination. Jews are prevented from praying or performing any other religious ritual, while Muslim and Christian visitors pray freely. 

Muslim anger over the site has escalated since MKs have announced efforts to equalize prayer rights at the site, through legislation which would allow full religious freedom. 

Calls by Islamic Movement figures for Muslims to "defend" the site against Jewish visitors has triggered violence in that past. 

Salah was recently arrested for incitement after urging Muslims to block Jews from ascending the Temple Mount "with their bodies."

Muslim leaders constantly claim that Israel is trying to “Judaize” Al-Aqsa by planning to tear it down and re-establish the Holy Temple in its place.

A more ridiculous accusation is that Israel is using chemicals to erode the foundations of Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to cause it to collapse.