The Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party incited a wave of terrorist attacks late last year by falsely claiming that Israel was trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Now, after a brief lull, that incitement is back in full force, with the three top PA religious repeating the claims this month alone.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) revealed that in the last several days, the PA Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, Abbas's adviser on Religious and Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, as well as PA Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is have all echoed the claims heard last October and November which elicited a string of high-profile attacks.
Hussein last Thursday claimed that Israel hopes "to build the alleged Temple on the ruins of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque," in a reference to the Third Temple to be built on the holiest site in Judaism, which the PA has aggressively claimed to be Muslim-only in an attempt to erase roughly 3,000 years of Jewish history.
UNESCO must stop Israel from "destroying the human heritage in Jerusalem," al-Habbash said last Wednesday, in another claim against Israel.
Meanwhile Ida'is two weeks ago said that since January Israel has conducted "over a hundred attacks and incidents of desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron)." He also said "the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in grave and direct danger and that with every sunrise, this danger grows."
The calls echo the previous round of incitement led by Abbas, who in mid-October called to block Jews from "defiling" the Temple Mount by "all means necessary," a call that was answered by a wave of Arab terror attacks using guns, knives, hatchets and cars, which murdered 11 Israelis and left countless other injured in October and November.
In early November al-Habbash himself clarified that Abbas was indeed inciting a religious war.
Al-Habbash appeared on official PA TV, and used the term "ribat" meaning a religious war or conflict to defend or reconquer land defined as Islamic in describing the wave of terror attacks.
"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," al-Habbash said, as revealed by PMW.
Referring to Abbas's call to block Jews from the Temple Mount, al-Habbash said "a few days ago, President (Abbas) greeted them, reinforced them and requested more ribat from them."
"This statement may have angered the Israelis and the occupation, that the President is inciting the Palestinians from Jerusalem to ribat. Yes, we are inciting the people in Jerusalem to ribat. Ribat means to protect and to hold on to your ground," he added.