A full-blown war between Israeli Arabs and the Netanyahu government is “just a matter of time,” says Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel. In an interview with Hamas media, Al-Khatib said that the policies espoused by the new government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu leave Israeli Arabs “no choice” but to undertake a violent struggle.
According to Al-Khatib, the pronouncements by Netanyahu's ministers – such as the statement last week by new Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people – were simply reflective of the feelings of most Israelis. Such statements, he said “merely highlight the religious nature of the dispute,” as opposed to the proclamations by Israeli leaders that the dispute is “political,” and that in the end, Jews and Muslims would end up in a conflict over the Land.
In 2013, Al-Khatib warned of a possible internal conflict with "the Israeli occupation" and threatened a "huge eruption" if Israel intervened on the Temple Mount ("Al Aqsa") and continued, according to him, to bother the Muslims praying there. Khatib called on Muslims to come to the aid of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling for it to be a place of Muslims alone, and claiming that all statements of the Jews regarding the construction of the Third Temple are nothing but "tales of the imagination."
"The protection of the Al-Aqsa mosque is not solely a task for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, residents who have been occupied since 1948 (referring to the State of Israel) and the Palestinian people themselves. It is the task of the entire Muslim and Arab world,” he said.
The Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site, has been a hotbed of clashes between Jewish and Muslim worshippers for years.
In the weekend interview, Al-Khatib said that Israelis see Arabs as enemies, not fellow citizens who are living in their homeland. Based on this, he said, “the violent struggle between Arabs and the violent occupation is a certainty.”