Hamas, the terrorist organization ruling Gaza, rejected the "fatwa" (religious edict) made two weeks ago by Muslim leaders in Jordan, which ended a ban on visits to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque despite it being "under Israeli occupation."
Evidently the edict was too lenient for Hamas, in that it let "Palestinians...regardless of their nationalities" and "Muslims with passports from countries outside the Muslim World" visit Jerusalem, as long as they didn't financially aid the "occupation."
Hamas negated the ruling, saying it gives the appearance of recognizing the rule of the "occupation," and constitutes a de facto normalization with Israel.
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, completely rejected the idea of Muslims from around the world visiting Jerusalem, while speaking on a visit to Qatar's Doha in the name of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. Hamdan's comments came at an international conference of Muslim clerics.
According to Hamdan, the reason for rejecting the visits is that Muslims worldwide must be urged to wage war to "free Palestine" instead of visiting Israel. He added that Israel won't be defeated except by strength of arms.
The Hamas official made it clear that his group's goal is the destruction of all of Israel, saying "it would be a disgrace to us to forget the lands that were occupied in 1948."
It is worth noting that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who signed a unity deal with Hamas and said the group doesn't need to recognize Israel or renounce terror, has taken a different tack.
Abbas has expressed support for the fatwa, calling on Muslims worldwide to visit so as to strengthen the Muslim hold on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Muslims have often been caught desecrating the site, by acts such as dumping trash.
That Muslim hold was proven again last Wednesday, as members of the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) ordered Israeli police to arrest a Jewish youth for moving his lips in prayer on the site.