Despite there being no information President Obama plans to ascend the Temple Mount on his upcoming trip to Israel, Hamas last night stepped up its threats regarding Palestinian rumors the U.S. president may visit the sacred site.
“Visiting of Obama with Israeli soldiers entering the Al Aqsa Mosque will actually touch the deep and the tender part of the Palestinian, Arabic and Islamic countries all over the world,” Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas’s senior leader in the Gaza Strip, stated.
Zahar apparently was alluding to previous Palestinian and Arab rioting instigated after then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in 2000.
Zahar continued: “If he is looking to have this visit it means he is accepting Israel as a legitimate occupation, which is undermining his morality and his credibility. Jerusalem up to this moment and all of the Palestinian land is under occupation.”
The Hamas leader was speaking Sunday night on WABC Radio’s “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.”
Zahar said his group doesn’t have “any hope of any results from his visit to the region.”
Asked if he expects Obama to open dialogue with Hamas during the president’s second term, Zahar replied, “Up to this moment there is no indication about this.
“And if he is looking to have a negotiation or a dialogue about what is he going to speak? He will fail if he is going to believe we are a new example of Fatah, that we believe in talking just for talking,” he said.
“We are looking for real change in the attitude and the policy of America toward the state of the occupation of our land,” Zahar continued.
Contacted by WND, neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority say they have any information Obama plans to visit the Temple Mount amid Palestinian rumors that such a trip is in the works.
The rumors received a boost last week when Hamas issued a statement warning Obama against the idea, calling such a visit “a diplomatic catastrophe.”
The statement further called Obama’s rumored visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount “an imminent danger which the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem have never faced.”
Officials in the PA and Israel said they don’t have any information about a planned trip to the Temple Mount.
The office of Adnan Ghaleb al-Husayni, the governor of the Waqf, or Islamic custodians of the mount, further told WND that no such visit to the sensitive site was requested. An official in Husayni’s office said the idea of an Obama ascent to the Temple Mount is “insane.”
Hear the interview with Mahmoud al-Zahar: