TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ senior adviser Mahmoud al-Habbash last week said that President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of a plot to divide the Arab world and that any Jewish connection to the holy city is an imperialist myth and distortion of history.
Habbash, who is also the PA’s supreme Sharia judge, made his comments at a conference jointly organized by the Muslim-Christian Council for the Salvation of Jerusalem and the Holy Places and the Organization for Muslim Cooperation (OIC).
Despite Jews having a historical connection to Jerusalem, Habbash claimed those ties are based on a “false Jewish or Biblical pretext whose sole purpose is to take over the land.” The Western wall, he continued, has nothing to do with a Jewish temples, and the Jews have no right over its stones.
“This is an imperialist myth that exploited and distorted history and the holy sites in order to advance and justify imperialist projects,” Habbash said in his remarks, which were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
The conference, entitled “The Monotheistic Religions against the Judaization of Jerusalem and Its Holy Places,” was attended by several PA officials including the Palestinian Mufti, as well as other Christian and Muslim religious leaders and ambassadors.
Habbash also said that the newly opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem is “an American settlement in Jerusalem, and an emblem of imperialism.”
Trump’s move, Habbash said, “is nothing but a consolidation of the imperialist plan to plant a state [in the region] that will drive a wedge between the Asian and African parts of the Arab world, so as to keep [the Arabs] divided, backward and easily controlled.”
“The battle for Jerusalem is not a religious one; it a political battle between the rightful owners [of the city] and the imperialists. This obligates us to raise the Arab and Muslim world’s awareness of the Arab, Muslim and Christian identity of Jerusalem,” Habbash said.
His remarks are not the first time Habbash has denied any Jewish ties to Jerusalem. In 2015, he vowed it was only a matter of time before “the transient” Jewish residents of Jerusalem move on because they do not belong there.