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Palestinian fury at call to destroy Islamic site

Palestinian religious authorities call for the dismissal of American-Israeli politician

Image Credit: AFP
Knesset (Israeli parliament) member Hanin Zuabi gestures to the crowd as she arrives at a political rally on January 18, 2013 in the southern town of Rahat, in the Israeli Negev desert. Arab-Israelis, descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who stayed on after the creation of Israel in 1948, make up 20 percent of the population.
Gulf News

Ramallah: The Palestinian Higher Sharia Judicial Council has demanded that candidates running for the Israeli general elections should remove Al Aqsa Compound (Al Haram Al Sharif) in the occupied East Jerusalem from their election campaigns as the holy site should not be used to make electoral gains.

According to the council’s chairman and head of the Palestinian Sharia Higher Court, Shaikh Yousuf Dowais, the use of Al Aqsa Compound (Al Haram Al Sharif) in electoral campaigns constitutes a violation of international law.

Shaikh Dowais has strongly denounced the call of Jeremy Gimpel, one of Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), an Israeli hard line party running in the Israeli elections, for the total destruction of the Dome of the Rock, a central part of Al Aqsa Compound (Al Haram Al Sharif) and one of the holiest sites for Muslims, and its replacement with a rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon, which Jews believe lies beneath the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa.

A 2011 video recently emerged showing US-born Gimpel advocating for the “blowing up” of the Dome of the Rock in an address to a group of Christian Zionists in Florida.

The speech has also caused controversy in Israel, where politicians have called for Gimpel to be barred from running in Tuesday’s general elections.

“This is a serious challenge and a fundamental provocative call to the entire Muslim world,” said Shaikh Dowais in an official statement.

“The Dome of the Rock and the entire Al Aqsa Compound [Al Haram Al Sharif] are greater, bigger and purer than being used to make political and electoral gains,” he stressed.

“The Israeli occupation is waging an unprecedented attack against the holiest Islamic and Christian sites in the holy land,” he said, stressing that ultimate care and attention is vital. “Saving [Occupied]Jerusalem is a basic religious duty of every Arab and Muslim in the world. It is time for Arabs and Muslims to act in protection of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Compound [Al Haram Al Sharif],” he said.East Jerusalem, where the site lies, was occupied by Israel in the 1967 war and later annexed by it. Israel considers it its ‘eternal capital’.

Israeli daily Yedoit Aharanot reported on Sunday that Hatnua, the party led by former foreign minister Tzipi Livni has petitioned the Israeli Central Elections Committee to disqualify Gimpel only two days before the general elections over his incitement to violence.

“Can you imagine a moment in which the Dome of the Rock was bombed to make room for a new Temple,” Gimpel was quoted as telling an audience during a lecture in Florida of the US. “Could you imagine if that happened? No one would stay in the US — everyone would go to Israel,” he said.

Hatnua’s petition said that Gimpel’s comments constituted sedition and incitement and that he must therefore be disqualified.

“The mask has been ripped off. The delusional, lunatic list to be brought to the Knesset is threatening to ignite the entire Middle East and bring about a third world war,” said Yoel Hasson, a member of the Israeli Knesset.