Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is continuing to openly encourage a religious war to gain exclusive Muslim control over Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
The Temple Mount also houses the Al Aqsa Mosque and Islamic complex, which are built atop the ruins of two Jewish temples. Islamist groups, along with the PA and its supporters, have sought to deny any Jewish connection to the site, claiming it is a Muslim or "Palestinian" holy site.
Muslim extremists have also waged a violent campaign aimed at preventing growing number of Jewish visitors from accessing the site, while systematically destroying ancient Jewish artifacts.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, in an open letter to Palestinian university students beginning the new academic year, Abbas urged them to "carry out Ribat" – an Arabic term for a religious war to maintain Muslim control over land claimed as Islamic.
Text of the letter was posted to the official Facebook page of Abbas's Fatah faction on August 17, and translated by PMW:
In the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate,
And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good. (Quran, Sura 29:69, translation Sahih International)
Allah the Supreme spoke truth.
We will continue to stand firm and carry out Ribat in Jerusalem and its surroundings until Judgement Day. Then the believers will rejoice in the victory of Allah, and will say: 'When is it [Allah's victory]? It might be here soon.'
July 30, 2015
The letter was just one of a series of similar statements over the summer inciting violence by Abbas and his Fatah faction, which controls the PA and PLO.
Among other incidents documented by PMW:
- Last week, on the anniversary of an arson attack in the Al-Aqsa Mosque by a deranged Australian Christian in 1969 that the PA adamantly accuses Israel of planning, Fatah spokesman in Jerusalem Raafat Alayan urged Palestinians to continue carrying out Ribat "regardless of the cost":
"Our resolute people will continue to carry out Ribat (i.e., religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic) in its homeland, and to protect the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] until Judgement Day, regardless of the cost."
- In an official statement to the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida paper, the PA government called on Palestinians to "protect" Muslim control over Jerusalem and "carry out Ribat," while simultaneously blaming any violence on Israel.
"The [PA] government warned that if the Israeli government continues its current policy regarding Jerusalem and its holy sites, this would definitely cause the entire region to go up in flames, and drag it into a religious war," the statement read.
"The government saluted its people standing firm, and the Ribat fighters who are protecting the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] with their chests and their hands, and called on the Palestinian people, with all its parts and its popular and official institutes, wherever it may be, to stand as one protecting Jerusalem and it's Al-Aqsa [Mosque], to carry our Ribat in it, and to come out against the plot to Judaize it."
- In a statement to the PA's official WAFA news agency, the Fatah party urged Palestinians to carry out Ribat:
"The Fatah movement emphasized the Arab identity of Jerusalem and its holy places to Islam and Christianity, and [the need to] redeem the Al-Aqsa Mosque through sacrifices. This is in order to prevent the implementation of the [Israeli] plan to Judaize it, and to [have] the invading settlers take it over…
"Fatah saluted the Palestinian Murabitin's (i.e., those who carry out Ribat, religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic) resolve in the Al-Aqsa Mosque…It stressed that the movement's fighters, together with the Palestinian people, are ready to take action against the [Israeli] plot and to protect the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and all the holy places in Jerusalem – no matter how many sacrifices it takes."
Arab and Islamist groups regularly refer to any Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount as "settlers" or "invaders."
It is far from the first time that Abbas and the PA have been documented aggressively inciting violence on the Temple Mount. In October of last year he called on Palestinians to stop Jews from visiting the Mount "using all means."