- Hamas Warns of Israeli Scheme to Dismantle Dome of Rock
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned about an Israeli scheme to dismantle the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
In a statement on Monday, Hamas said the compound with all its chapels, squares, and the Dome of the Rock Mosque is an Islamic holy site and a right for Muslims only, the Palestinian Information Center reported. The compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The resistance movement stressed that continuous attempts by Israeli settlers under the regime’s protection to alter conditions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque will certainly fail. “We will defend our Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qiblahs, with all our strength and whatever sacrifices it costs us,” Hamas added.
The resistance movement urged all Palestinians to intensify presence at Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on the Palestinian Authority, which runs the occupied West Bank, to support the Jerusalemites by all means. Hamas further called on Arab and Islamic nations to unite in their defense of the Palestinian cause and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
On January 7, Sheikh Abdel Azeem Salhab, head of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, also warned about such a move after Jewish settler groups requested to build a temple in place of the Dome of the Rock prayer building. The senior Muslim cleric warned that the move would trigger an all-out religious war in the region.
Palestinians have long been wary of Israeli attempts to change the status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site and where only Muslim prayers are allowed under the status quo reaffirmed in 1967 between Israel and Jordan. The holy compound is administered by the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization on behalf of Jordan and Palestine. Non-Muslims can visit the site, but cannot pray there.