Hamas threatens the country with a ‘big battle’ for Jerusalem

The leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinouar, warned on Saturday of the possibility of a “big battle” against Israel in the event of a new “aggression” by Israeli forces in the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

In recent weeks, the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site and Judaism’s holiest site known as the Temple Mount, has been the scene of clashes. Nearly 300 Palestinians were injured in this area where Al-Aqsa is located after anti-Israeli attacks and Israeli army operations in the occupied West Bank.

“You will have to prepare for a great battle”

During these clashes, the Israeli police deployed on the esplanade and also once entered the Al-Aqsa mosque, throwing tear gas, which had prompted condemnation from Palestinians and Muslim countries.

“Whoever makes the decision to repeat this will himself make the decision to destroy thousands of synagogues around the world,” Yahya Sinouar, head of Hamas’ political bureau in the blockaded Gaza Strip, said in a speech. Israeli. “You will have to prepare for a big battle if the occupation (as Israel is called by Palestinians) does not stop attacking Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.

Historical status quo

This rare speech was delivered on the anniversary, according to the Muslim calendar, of the 11-day war, in May 2021, between Israel and Hamas. He also paid tribute to Iran, Israel’s main enemy, and movements backed by the Islamic Republic, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Yemeni Houthi rebels. In the event of “aggression” on the esplanade of the Mosques during “Jerusalem Day”, Hamas will launch more than a thousand rockets towards Israel, Sinouar further threatened. Scheduled this year at the end of May, this event celebrated in Israel commemorates the capture of the Palestinian part of the Holy City in 1967.

Under a historical status quo, Muslims are allowed to pray on the esplanade, located in the Palestinian part of Jerusalem annexed by Israel, while non-Muslims can go there at specific times but without praying there. In recent years, the number of Jews visiting the esplanade has increased to reach a record high in April during Passover, the Jewish Passover. Many Jewish worshipers are regularly spotted praying there despite the ban, sparking fears among Muslims that this historic status quo could be shattered.

The Jewish state “will not change” the historical status quo, the head of Israeli diplomacy Yair Lapid assured last week. The Raam party, the first Arab formation in the history of Israel to support a government coalition, recently “suspended” its support because of the violence in Jerusalem. On Saturday, Yahya Sinouar called on its leader, Mansour Abbas, to “leave” the coalition definitively.

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