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Al-Aqsa Imam demands the lifting of PA sanctions on Gaza

Palestinian Muslims perform the last Friday Prayer in Muslims' holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on June 08, 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian Muslims perform at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 8 June 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]

The senior Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque called for the lifting of sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Authority during his sermon yesterday. Shaikh Ekrima Sabri stressed that it is not permissible according to Islamic Law to punish two million Palestinians in this manner.

Around 40,000 worshippers listened to the sermon on the first Friday after Eid Al-Adha. “The siege of Gaza and the sanctions must be lifted for the sake of our unity,” Shaikh Sabri insisted.

He also condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ ongoing closures of Al-Aqsa Mosque, stressing that the occupation authorities are not in themselves a sovereign state and actually have no legitimate control over Jerusalem and the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa.

The veteran scholar pointed out that the Israelis want to break the spirit of the Muslims, but the Almighty is watching. Jerusalemites, he said, will always remain an enigmatic part of the equation who will neither break nor concede an inch of Al-Aqsa.

Read: Palestinians in West Bank protest against PA in support of Gaza

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas imposed a series of sanctions on Gaza in April 2017 under the pretext of forcing the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, to dissolve the administrative committee it had formed in the besieged territory. The sanctions included the deduction of about 30 per cent of PA salaries, cutting electricity supplies and medical transfers, and the referral of more than 20,000 government employees for early retirement.

Despite the subsequent dissolution of the committee as demanded, after talks held in Cairo in September 2017, the sanctions were kept in place, and were even strengthened in April, with cuts to salaries rising to 50 per cent.

Shaikh Sabri turned to international issues when he addressed the issue of inheritance, especially the call of secularists in Tunisia to provide for males and females to have a right to equal inheritance. He pointed out that this is against Islamic law, the provisions of which are much more nuanced than the secularists claim and require a much more detailed discussion than a simple “equality” argument.

Read: Qatar warns against the escalation of the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip

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