The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University and Mosque has warned that Israel's plans for the Judaisation of occupied Jerusalem and attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque are a red line that should not be crossed. "It means," warned Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, "the beginning of the end of the Israeli entity on the land of Palestine."
The Grand Sheikh's comments were made at the launch of his "Statement on Holy Jerusalem" on Monday 21 November. "Jerusalem is not just an occupied land, but a sacred Islamic and Christian land," said the Sheikh. "Its cause is not only a national issue, whether Palestinian or pan-Arab, but also an issue of Islamic ideology. While Muslims are ready to free Jerusalem from Israeli occupation, they emphasise its holiness among all believers."
According to Dr. Al-Tayyeb, Israelis who rely on Western imperialist forces while trying to Judaise Jerusalem are risking the future of the Jewish people. "They are going beyond the red lines of the Islamic nation, the population of which represents a quarter of humanity," he warned, "and they will be able to obtain the rights deprived to them soon."
He renewed Al-Azhar's condemnation, and that of all Muslims, of the attempts to Judaise the Holy City with Israeli settlements. "Those who support the Zionist entity," he noted, "are supporting a Judaisation project which lacks any legitimacy." Sheikh Al-Tayyeb pointed out that Israel's plans seek to erase Jerusalem's Arab history: "Al-Azhar, as the historic spiritual home of Muslims, rejects the settlements in Jerusalem as breaches of international law and conventions; the occupying power cannot alter the demographics, land or identity of the occupied land."
The ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine threatens the peace of the whole region, if not the world, said Dr. Al-Tayyeb, and he called upon the free people of the world to support the right of the Palestinians to liberate the Holy Land. "Wise Jews," he added, "will acknowledge that when they were persecuted all over the world Jews found refuge in Islamic lands."
In his statement, the Grand Sheikh pointed out that the Jewish presence in Jerusalem did not exceed 415 years in ancient times, a transient existence compared to the millennia of Arab presence. "Under Arab authority," he said, "Jerusalem has always been the City of God with open doors for people of all faiths and respect for the holy sites." This respect for others has disappeared under Israeli rule, he claimed.