Recent riots at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in Jerusalem provide further proof of the widespread support among Palestinians for Hamas, the Islamist group controlling the Gaza Strip that is designated as a terrorist organization not only by Israel, but also by the US, Canada, the EU, Japan, Australia and Britain. Pictured: Palestinian rioters attack Israeli police officers with rocks outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on April 22, 2022. (Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)
The recent riots at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in Jerusalem provide further proof of the widespread support among Palestinians for Hamas, the Islamist group controlling the Gaza Strip that is designated as a terrorist organization not only by Israel, but also by the US, Canada, the EU, Japan, Australia and Britain.
Yet, none of these countries has so far condemned Hamas for orchestrating and inciting the violence, during which thousands of Palestinians desecrated the al-Aqsa Mosque compound by hurling stones and launching fireworks at Israeli security forces. Nor have they expressed concern over the calls made by Hamas supporters at the holy site to murder Jews and wage jihad (holy war) against Israel.
Instead of condemning Hamas for defiling the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and encouraging Muslim worshippers to attack Israeli police officers, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken continues to talk about the need "to end the cycle of violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza by exercising restraint and refraining from actions that escalate tensions, including at Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."
At an April 22 meeting in Ramallah between US State Department envoys Yael Lempert and Hady Amr, and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and his top advisers in Ramallah, there was no mention at all of Hamas's non-stop provocations and incitement.
According to a statement issued by the Palestinian Affairs Unit at the US Embassy in Jerusalem, the two sides discussed "the need for all parties to call and work for calm, especially in Jerusalem, and our mutual commitment to a two-state solution."
The Biden administration and many in the international community continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that Hamas has exploited the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to tighten its grip on one of Islam's holiest shrines, the al-Aqsa Mosque. They are also ignoring the daily calls at the site to slaughter Jews.
"O' settler, patience, patience, Hamas will dig your grave!" Hamas supporters chanted during one of the rallies at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
During another rally, the Hamas supporters kept repeating "We are the men of Mohammed Deif."
Deif, the commander of the military wing of Hamas, has been on Israel's most wanted list for more than two decades for his involvement in several terrorist attacks that included kidnappings and suicide bombings. In 2015, the US State Department finally added the Gaza-based arch-terrorist Deif to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
"In the name of God, in the name of the religion, we want to liberate Palestine," thousands of Hamas supported and other worshippers repeated again and again on April 22.
When Hamas and its supporters talk about the liberation of Palestine, they are referring to the elimination of Israel, as explicitly stated in the Hamas covenant of 1988.
Its preamble states, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it...."
According to Article 11 of the Hamas covenant:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."
Article 13 states:
"These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitrators... There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
Article 32: "Leaving the circle of struggle with Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who does that."
Article 33: "Hail to Jihad!"
In keeping with this ideology, Hamas supporters have also been chanting: "Allah is our goal, the Koran is our constitution, jihad is our path, Hamas our movement and its Qassam Brigades [military wing] is our army."
After the Friday prayer at the al-Aqsa Mosque on April 22, thousands of Palestinians chanted: "Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaishu Mohammed sawfa ya'ud!" ("Khaibar, Khaibar O' Jews, the army of Mohammed will return).
This slogan, referring to a battle between the early Muslims and the Jews in the 7th century, during which Jews were massacred, is a direct threat to slaughter Jews and is heard as such.
The year 2007 will be remembered for Hamas seizing control of the Gaza Strip and forcibly exiling the Palestinian Authority. The year 2022 will be remembered as the year Hamas seized control of the Haram al-Sharif, turning it into a podium for issuing threats to massacre Jews and destroy Israel.
As far as the terrorist organization is concerned, the pro-Hamas rallies at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound over the past few weeks show that the Palestinians fully endorse its charter and terrorism.
As Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem put it:
"Our people in Jerusalem and at the courtyards of the al-Aqsa Mosque have shown that they stand behind the symbols of the Palestinian resistance. Their chants and banners [in support of Hamas] reflect the depth of their belief in the option of resistance as a way to restore the land and the sanctities."
Hamas, he added, "will remain committed to its charter until the goals of our people are achieved, including the liberation [of all Palestine]."
It is important to understand that when Hamas talks about the "resistance," it is referring to different types of terrorism, including stabbings, shootings, vehicular attacks, suicide bombings and firing rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
The Biden administration's representatives who are talking about "the need for all parties to work for calm, especially in Jerusalem," appear to be overlooking that the latest tensions are not solely related to the city or al-Aqsa Mosque.
For Hamas, the riots at the al-Aqsa Mosque are part of a long-term strategy to destroy every inch of Israel.
"The battle [with Israel] is open," said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. "What is happening at the mosque will shorten the life of the occupation until it is expelled from Palestine. We are still at the beginning of the battle."
So, while the Biden administration is reaffirming its commitment to a "two-state solution," which means establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Hamas and its supporters are openly expressing their intention to continue their jihad until they displace all of Israel.
The events of the past few weeks at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, during which Hamas demonstrated that its supporters control the holy site, should serve as a warning to all those who believe that the "two-state solution" will lead to an end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Public opinion polls have shown a dramatic surge in Palestinian support for Hamas after last year's war between the terrorist group and Israel. A more recent poll revealed that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh remains more popular than Abbas and could easily defeat him in a presidential election. The poll also disclosed that if parliamentary elections were held today, Hamas would defeat Abbas's faction, Fatah.
The results of the polls clearly telegraph that any future Palestinian state will be controlled by Hamas and used as a launching pad to continue the fight until Israel is obliterated.
By ignoring the dangerous repercussions of the Hamas takeover of the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem and the calls for slaughtering Jews emanating from the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Biden administration and the rest of the international community are, in fact, emboldening the Islamist terrorists and facilitating their jihad against Israel. Their silence is correctly understood as a green light to keep on escalating their assaults.
If the Americans believe that Hamas will heed their calls to "refrain from actions that escalate tensions," they are deluding themselves. They are further deluding themselves if they in believe that Abbas is able to stop Hamas from extending its control to the West Bank.
Meanwhile, perhaps to try to stay competitive with the more popular Hamas, Abbas and his top advisers continue to fan the flames of terror, especially by stepping up their incitement against Israel and accusing it of "waging war on the Palestinians and Islamic and Christian holy sites."
It would have been far more beneficial had the US envoys who visited Ramallah last week demanded an end to the inflammatory statements by Abbas and other Palestinian officials. It would also have been more helpful had they and the Biden administration denounced Hamas and its supporters for defiling the al-Aqsa Mosque and calling for the murder of yet more Jews.
The Palestinians, for their part, have been, as always, refreshingly clear about what they want -- and a mosque is not it.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.