On Monday, Palestinian religious authorities based in East Jerusalem issued a religious decree, or fatwa, banning the Arab residents from participating in the upcoming municipal elections in Jerusalem.
“The council sees that participation in the municipal election, either by voting or presenting candidacy, is religiously forbidden,” the decree stated.
According to the supreme court of fatwa, participation in the October election would assist Israel in its efforts to Judaize Jerusalem, and change its historical and religious features. It added, “the occupied city of Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic City.”
Currently, there are around 300,000 Arabs in Jerusalem that are eligible to vote and run for office in the Jerusalem municipality. Historically, most of these Arab have boycotted the elections. But this year, Ramadan Dabash, an Arab community leader from a village in the south of the city was going to run in the election. This new religious decree is meant to outlaw his participation, as well as any voting.
This fatwa comes just two weeks after the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, released another religious decree, which outlawed the transfer of ownership of any part of Jerusalem or the land of Palestine to the enemy.
According to that fatwa, all of the land of Palestine is considered holy and thus transferring the land to a non-Muslim is prohibited. According to the sheik, “Anyone who sells his land to the enemies, or accepts compensation for it, will commit a sin.” He also warned that anyone who violates the fatwa will be considered an infidel, apostate and traitor to God, Islam and his homeland.
Put together, these religious decrees, which most followers of Islam consider to be binding, constitute a hardening position by the Palestinians in terms of any future compromise with Israel. It also makes a future peace deal unlikely, as any land that is transferred to Israel in the future would be in violation of the religious ruling.
Even more worrying, however, is that these fatwas intensify the religious nature of the disagreement with the Jews, especially regarding the land and governance of Jerusalem.
This is further evident in the latest Palestinian claim that Israel has devised a plan to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
A week and half ago, a 200-kilogram rectangular stone fell from the Western Wall, falling onto a Jewish prayer station on the outside of the compound housing the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
While some Jewish authorities mentioned that it may have religious significance, archaeologists stated dogmatically that since the 2,000-year-old stone was already cracked and wasn’t sitting directly upon another stone, it was only a matter of time before it fell.
Nevertheless, that reasoning didn’t cut it for some of the Muslim authorities.
Osama Qawassmeh, spokesperson for the ruling Fatah party, said on Thursday that the dislodging of the stone was a “dangerous sign of what was happening in the al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings.”
Omar Kiswani, director of al-Aqsa Mosque, also weighed in on the fall of the boulder, claiming it was the direct result of Israeli archaeological excavations.
The incident, Kiswani said, confirms assertions of the Waqf, the body responsible for the day-to-day running of the Temple Mount, that Israel is carrying out dangerous archaeological excavation work in the area of the Temple Mount. He called for dispatching an international committee to the area to probe Israel’s actions.
While excavations do take place on the outside of the Temple Mount compound, no excavations—apart from illegal, unsupervised, Palestinian excavations—have taken place on or under the Temple Mount.
Furthermore, the claim that Israelis are using excavations beneath the compound in order to eventually destroy al-Aqsa is deeply untrue, not to mention dangerous.
But when some Arabs see a stone fall from the wall that the prophet Mohammed was said to have tied his flying donkey to on his journey to the far-away mosque, and then the Islamic authority comes out and says it is proof of Jewish action to take over the site, this can have an inciting and motivating effect on the Muslim population.
While there haven’t been riots over the fallen stone, the spreading of lies regarding Israel’s actions on the Temple Mount only increases the religious tension between Jews and Palestinians.
We have long said that that religion, more than any national aspiration, will be the main driving force for the Palestinians in the future. This is especially true concerning anything related to the subject of Jerusalem or the Temple Mount. As our editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in 2006, it will be a perceived threat to the Muslim religion, and especially related to the Muslim holy sites, that will motivate the next and final armed uprising by the Palestinians.
The issuing of these fatwas in quick succession, along with the claim that Israel is destroying al-Aqsa, is only intensifying the religious nature of the struggle with the Jews. For more of where this will lead, be sure to request and read Gerald Flurry’s free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.