Muslim officials at the Dome of the Rock
Muslim officials at the Dome of the Rock Sliman Khader/Flash 90

While many have claimed Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is trying to "calm" the string of Arab terrorism plaguing Jerusalem, Abbas's own Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is offered further proof that isn't the case by giving lip service to a libel on official PA TV to incite more violence.

In the comments, which were made last Wednesday and translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Ida'is made the old claim that Israel plans to "take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, destroy it and build the alleged Temple."

"All that Israel wants is to Judaize the Holy City, take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, destroy it and build the alleged Temple. Under Jerusalem there is a city of tunnels belonging to Israel. Yesterday, I was told that Israel has an underground market beneath the Jaffa Gate, which draws many (Arab) residents who shop there," Ida'is claimed erroneously.

Making the claim all the more perplexing is the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made great efforts to promise Jordan and its Waqf (Islamic trust) that he will not change the discriminatory status quo imposed by the Waqf, by which Jews are forbidden to pray at the holiest site in Judaism - let alone rebuild their Holy Temple.

Ida'is's claim adds fuel to a major drive behind the recent wave of Arab riots and terror attacks engulfing the capital, which has been built on accusations that Israel is somehow subverting Muslim access to the Temple Mount - when in fact serial Arab riots have blocked Jewish visits to the site.

The claim by the minister of religious affairs appears to have particular appeal, given that a poll in April by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), a member of WIN/Gallup International, found that 90% of Palestinian Arabs described themselves as religious to some extent.

Abbas himself, aside from having his party consistently praise terrorist attacks, was revealed by PA Supreme Sharia (Islamic law) Judge and Abbas's adviser Mahmoud Al-Habbash on official PA TV last month to be personally inciting religious war known as "ribat."

"First of all, allow me to say that we kiss every forehead, every hand and even every foot that carries out ribat at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem...We are behind them. The leadership is with them...we are with them in every movement, in every action and every deed, and we welcome what they are doing at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque," said Al-Habbash.

He added "the campaign being waged in Jerusalem today - I think it is the final chapter. The final chapter after which our banners will be raised, with the aid of the one, exalted and omnipotent Allah, over the towers of the muezzin (person who sings the Muslim call to prayer - ed.) of Jerusalem, the churches of Jerusalem, the domes of Jerusalem, and its hills, mountains, alleys and houses."

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