The Hamas terrorist organization issued a threat against Israel Wednesday over a campaign by an activist group to offer the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount on Friday, the eve of Passover.
“We stress that this represents a dangerous escalation that crosses all red lines, as it is a direct assault on the belief and feelings of our people and our nation during this holy month,” Hamas said, adding that it would hold Israel responsible if any Jews perform the Biblical ceremony at the holy site.
The Temple Mount is the Holiest site in Judaism, while the Al Aqsa Mosque, which sits at the southern end of the mount, is the third holiest site in Islam. Jews are typically not allowed to even appear to be praying on the entire Temple Mount, and allegations of Jewish plots against the Al Aqsa Mosque have been used to incite violence against Jews since the 1920s.
The 'Returning to the Mount' movement launched a new campaign to encourage Jews to perform the Passover sacrifice this week.
In the publication published by the movement, a cash prize of ten thousand shekels was offered to those who succeed in performing the "Passover sacrifice" in its proper place, eight hundred shekels to those who are stopped on their way with a young goat or lamb, and four hundred shekels for those who are stopped without an animal for sacrifice.
About a week and a half ago, the movement's chairman, Rafael Morris, was summoned to a hearing in preparation for an administrative expulsion from the Old City, claiming that he would try to offer the Passover sacrifice on the eve of the festival.
The Returning to the Mount movement said in a statement: "It is time to change the rules of the game. Neither Hamas nor Jordan will decide whether the offering of the sacrifices will be resumed - it depends solely on us. This coming Friday, Passover eve, we will reach the Temple Mount from all parts of the country with goats and sheep demanding the sacrifice at its appointed time."
Hamas was set to meet Wednesday to discuss its responses to the campaign to perform the Passover sacrifice on Friday.
Hamas official Zaher Jabareen said: "This is a red line and it is playing with fire, and the Palestinians cannot accept that."
The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization said it would back Hamas' decisions on the issue.