JERUSALEM – In the aftermath of Friday’s Temple Mount terror attack in which two Israeli policemen were killed by Arab-Israeli gunmen, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction rebroadcast his 2014 call to stop the Jews from “defiling” Muslim holy sites by “any way whatsoever.”
“We must all carry out Ribat [religious war] in the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abbas said in the video posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page on Saturday and translated by Palestinian Media Watch. “We have to prevent them, in any way whatsoever, from entering the Sanctuary.”
“They have no right to enter it. They have no right to defile it. We must prevent them. Let us stand before them with chests bared to protect our holy places,” he added.
In 2014, official PA TV broadcast Abbas’ call to defend Al-Aqsa no less than 19 times in 3 days. What ensued was a week of Arab riots and the murder of a woman and her baby by a Palestinian terrorist. That was followed by a month of car rammings and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem in which 11 Israelis were murdered.
Abbas’ re-broadcasted call to Palestinians to carry out Ribat and defend the mosque “in any way” contradicts his statements to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemning Friday’s attack and “opposing any event of violence from any side, particularly at places of worship.”
Less than a year later, Abbas reiterated his call to defend Al-Aqsa from the “filthy” Jews.
“The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours … and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem,” he said in September 2015.
Abbas continued by “blessing every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem” and added “every Martyr will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.” That speech was followed by two years of what Palestinians called the “Al-Aqsa Intifada” in which Israeli civilians and soldiers were subjected to car ramming, stabbing and shooting attacks, often on a daily basis.
The video posted Saturday on Fatah’s Facebook was accompanied by the smiling image of Friday’s terrorists, who hail from the Arab-Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm. Fatah lauded the men as “martyrs” and ended the post with an additional call to violence, saying, “the time for rage has come!”
The selfie of two of the three attackers standing in the Temple Mount compound was posted by one of them on his Facebook page moments before the attack. The accompanying text read, “Our smile tomorrow will be more beautiful, Allah willing.” The post garnered more than 1,000 comments in under an hour, most of them from well-wishers praising the would-be attacker.
The three gunmen fired several rounds, killing Druze police officers Haiel Sitawe, 30 and Kamil Shnaan, 22, before running back towards the Dome of the Rock where police officers shot them. A statement by Fatah published in the PA’s official daily, Al Hayat al Jadida, described the Israeli forces’ killing of the terrorists as “cold-blooded murder.”
Following Friday’s attack Netanyahu ordered the closure of the Temple Mount compound over the weekend, drawing sharp condemnation from the Arab world, including Abbas, who warned of violent ramifications if the site were to remain closed. His Fatah faction called the closure “deplorable” and urged Muslims to go to the Mount en masse.