Khalil al-Haya, a senior member of Hamas’ politburo, was responding to remarks made by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who said during a recent meeting with Israeli rabbis that “Israel exists to remain and not so that it ceases to exist.”
Al-Haya, who spoke at a ceremony in Gaza marking the Islamic commitment to Jerusalem, said, “Israel exists so that it will cease to exist and not so it will remain. We plan to work night and day to bring an end to the despicable occupation of our land.”
Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi, who translated Al-Haya’s remarks, noted that the ceremony was attended by Hamas’ de-facto Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, as well as other leaders of Arab organizations.
“Al-Quds is not a land which is sold and purchased and it will not be returned by standing at the gates and pleading and bargaining, but through a struggle,” Al-Haya said.
“The resistance is not a defense … we will not let go in the face of occupation and siege, but we will prepare for conquest and victory,” he added and called on Arab countries to join forces to bring the liberation of ‘Palestine’, and in the first stage to besiege Israel, expel the Israeli representatives and stop normalization with the Jewish State.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Mahmoud Halabia, head of Hamas’ Jerusalem department, accused Israel of using chemical substances in excavations on the Temple Mount to erode the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. These acts, he claimed, have caused cracks in the mosque’s walls. Similar accusations against Israel were made recently in a news story on Palestinian Authority television.
Halabia further argued that Israel repeatedly tries to set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, claiming that two months ago an attempt was made to burn the carpets in the mosque and to bomb the mosque using planes.
He condemned the visits of Jews and foreign tourists to the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza and their holding religious ceremonies there, and warned against Israel’s intention to implement an arrangement for Jews to pray at the Temple Mount, similar to the existing arrangement in the Cave of the Patriarchs.
There recently have been growing calls to create a partition between two sections of the Temple Mount, one for Jewish use and the other for Muslims.
As usual, the Arab statements make no mention of the fact that the Waqf, which was left in charge of the Temple Mount following Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967, has removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the Jewish holy site. The decision to leave the Temple Mount in the hands of the Waqf was made by then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.
At the entrance to the Temple Mount, a Waqf sign says, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property”.
Police, in an attempt to appease the Waqf, discriminate against Jews. They limit the number of Jewish worshippers allowed on the Temple Mount at one time in order to prevent conflict with Muslim worshippers. They often close the Mount to Jews in response to Muslim riots – despite evidence that Muslim riots have been planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.