Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, head of the Supreme Muslim Council of “Palestine”, is accusing Israel of taking "acts of revenge" against the Arab residents of Jerusalem after it was forced to remove the electronic inspection measures at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque last year.
Israel's "acts of revenge", he claimed, include demolishing homes, removing security guards from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and an increase in the number of "break-ins by extremist Jews" to the mosque.
In an interview with the Hamas daily Al-Risala, Sabri said that Israel was trying to demonstrate its ability to impose facts on the ground in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, to remove the Arab presence from Jerusalem and to turn the city into a city with Israeli character.
The Arab residents of Jerusalem, he stated, continue to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the city of Al-Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem -ed.) and are ready to hold on to their property at any cost.
He called upon the Palestinian Arab public in Israel and in Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria to continue to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to ease the pressure on the Muslim residents of Jerusalem and to assist them in their efforts to thwart Israel's plans in the city.
Several months ago, Sabri accused "extremist" Jewish organizations of waging a legal battle aimed at achieving Israeli sovereignty in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Last year, Sabri rejected the demand for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, saying it is "unacceptable".
"The Al-Aqsa mosque will not surrender to haggling and negotiations, and we will not give up on even one grain of earth," he declared.
In 2014, he declared that Al-Aqsa was a “red line” for Arabs, adding, “We will not give up even one grain of earth (at the Al-Aqsa Mosque), since the Jews have no connection to it whatsoever.”