Hamas’ Sinwar threatens ‘regional religious war’ if Al-Aqsa is ‘raped’ again

In a Saturday night speech filled with deadly threats and denunciations of Israel, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar said the terror group “will not hesitate to take action” if Israel “violates” the Al Mosque. -Aqsa.

“Our people must prepare for a great battle if the occupation does not cease its aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Sinwar said.

“Violing Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem means a regional religious war,” he said.

Waving behind him a photo of Israeli police inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sinwar threatened violence against synagogues around the world if the action was repeated.

“Whoever makes the decision to allow the repetition of this photo, the violation of Al-Aqsa, he has decided to allow the violation of thousands of synagogues around the world,” Sinwar said.

In his more than hour-long address, Sinwar praised the recent wave of terror against Israelis that left 15 dead; encouraged West Bank Palestinians and Israeli Arabs to carry out more attacks; hailed a “global shift” in favor of the Palestinian cause; and urged the Islamist Ra’am party to withdraw from Israel’s ruling coalition.

But Sinwar, who heads Hamas’ office in Gaza and is the enclave’s de facto governor, devoted most of his speech to threatening Israel for any action on Jerusalem’s holy Temple Mount site, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Clashes between Palestinian rioters and Israeli forces at the compound, revered by both Muslims and Jews, helped spark a war between Israel and Hamas last May. The top of the hill is the holiest site in Judaism as the location of biblical temples, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest shrine in Islam.

Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar is greeted by members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian movement Hamas, before a speech in Gaza City, April 30, 2022. (Mahmud Hams /AFP)

Since the May war, which Hamas has dubbed the “Sword of Jerusalem,” the Gaza-based terror group has threatened to fire rockets into Israel if it violates the organization’s “red lines” in Jerusalem.

“We drew and raised this sword to let the enemy know that Al-Aqsa is not alone and that our nation would resist if Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem were violated,” Sinwar said.

Palestinians have repeatedly clashed with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque over the past month, raising fears that the violence could once again trigger a wider escalation. Palestinian rioters threw stones at police, who responded with rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas, injuring hundreds of people.

Israeli police also blocked extremist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir from marching in Jerusalem’s Old City, which the terror group said could trigger rocket fire.

“The echo of this operation is only growing,” Sinwar said.

Sinwar further accused Israel of seeking to divide the Temple Mount as a “first step” to “destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a temple” in its place. He cited as evidence the rise in the number of Jewish visitors to the holy site in recent years.

“Al-Aqsa is indeed in danger,” Sinwar said.

Sinwar hailed what he saw as the shifting winds of world opinion against the Jewish state. He praised Diaspora Palestinians, who he said have brought about a shift in public opinion.

“There is a global shift in favor of the Palestinian cause, in many countries. Those who follow the media and political discourse see a change,” Sinwar said.

The address was Sinwar’s first major public appearance in nearly a year. Last June, the senior Hamas figure gave a 90-minute speech in the aftermath of May’s war with Israel, laying out his vision of what the terror group had achieved.

“If conflict erupts again, the shape of the Middle East will change. We have proven that there are those who defend Al-Aqsa Mosque,” ​​Sinwar boasted then.

Palestinian worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the last Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on April 29, 2022. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

A few weeks later, a new Israeli government was formed – this time with the support of the Islamist Ra’am party. Ra’am is the political arm of the Islamic Movement, some of whose top leaders have ties to their Hamas counterparts.

Sinwar criticized Ra’am and his party leader Mansour Abbas, whom he called “Abu Righal” – a legendary traitor in pre-Islamic legend.

“That you serve as support for this government that violates Al-Aqsa is an unforgivable crime,” Sinwar said.

Ra’am suspended his membership in the coalition after recent clashes between Palestinians and police at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Although tensions have yet to escalate, Ra’am has yet to officially join the government.

Abbas has publicly adopted a political program that seeks tangible gains for Israeli Arabs. In interviews in Arabic and Hebrew, the Islamist said that Israel “was a Jewish state and will remain so.”

“For an Arab to say this is a Jewish state is the height of degeneracy,” Sinwar said. “You get some achievements for the Arab society, in exchange for violating Al-Aqsa?”

Sinwar also hailed a wave of terror attacks that left 15 dead, the deadliest wave of violence against Israelis in years. On Friday evening, two Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a security guard outside the settlement of Ariel in the northern West Bank.

Hamas has not taken responsibility for any of the attacks – but the terror group’s officials have repeatedly touted them. Sinwar pointed to an attack by Ra’ed Hazem, a Palestinian from Jenin who killed three Israelis in late March on a busy Tel Aviv boulevard.

“If a Palestinian with a gun can do this in downtown Tel Aviv, what could ten elite resisters do? Sinwar said.

Sinwar praised Hazem’s father, Fathi Hazem, a retired Palestinian Authority security guard, for giving him “the best education, which produced an earthquake that shook [Israel].”

Palestinian rioters throw stones towards Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 15, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

“Our people in the West Bank, the youth of the West Bank, don’t wait for anyone’s decision! Individual acts have proven to be exceptionally successful,” Sinwar said.

As for Arabs living in Israel, he also urged them to kill Israelis: “Our people living inside the occupying state – in the Negev, in the [northern] Triangle, Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and Lod – everyone who has a gun should take it, and those who don’t have a gun should take a butcher knife or any knife they will find,” he said.

Sinwar also criticized the United States and the international community for supporting Ukrainian refugees, but not Palestinians.

“The conscience of the world is sensitive and delicate… in the face of blue-eyed refugees. Well, our people and their cause have persisted for seventy years,” Sinwar said.

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