Hamas Leader: Battle for Al-Aqsa Will Begin After Ramadan

In light of growing tensions at Al-Aqsa, Yahya Sinwar slams the United Arab List's participation in Bennett's coalition as an 'unforgivable crime'

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Head of the political wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar (C) attends a meeting in Gaza City on Saturday.
Head of the political wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar (C) attends a meeting in Gaza City on Saturday.Credit: MAHMUD HAMS - AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Hamas' political chief Yahya Sinwar said Saturday that the "big battle" for Al-Aqsa will begin after Ramadan if Israel "does not cease its aggression" at the mosque. 

Sinwar also praised "the heroic actions in Israel," a day after a 23-year-old security guard was shot dead shielding his girlfriend outside the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank, raising the number of victims in this month's terror wave to 15. 

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"The battle to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque will begin after the month of Ramadan because the Zionists have a number of dates when they will try to breach the mosque," Sinwar said at a conference of Palestinian academics and the political faction in the Gaza Strip.

He also panned the United Arab List, the Islamist party sitting in Naftali Bennett's coalition, stating that "providing a safety net to a government that is harming Al-Aqsa is an unforgivable crime."

"If the members of the United Arab List have a drop of honor or conscience, they must leave the coalition immediately," said Sinwar, noting that "Palestinians within the Green Line carry a lot of weight within the conflict today."

Speaking with Israel's Channel 12 News, the party's leader Mansour Abbas responded that "we don't owe anything to Yahya Sinwar or anybody else. We do what is best for Arab society and for the Palestinian people."

"We believe that the process that we are leading inside Israel, of partnership and a tolerant discourse, will also advance peace," he added.

The United Arab List froze its membership in the coalition over Israel's incursion into Al-Aqsa Mosque, though the move coincided with the parliamentary recess and was coordinated with the government leaders.

The Al-Aqsa Compound has witnessed a spike in violence in the site sacred both to Muslims and Jews during Ramadan, which coincided with both Passover and Easter this year.

A minority of worshipers threw stones and set off fireworks from the site, prompting a rare incursion by Israeli security forces into the mosque itself. 

During the tensions, Israel Police were documented cracking down on Palestinians with excessive force, though they also halted a far-right march through the Old City's Muslim Quarter and have detained Jews seeking to pray and even perform ritual sacrifice at the site. Israel believes that Hamas' "incitement machine" used the sacrifice attempts to stir up agitation at the holy site.

Jordan and other Arab states have accused Israel of inflaming the tensions by upending the fragile status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, by allowing Jewish prayer at the site.

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