Netanyahu to Palestinians: When you want peace, let us know

netanyahu-mad

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized the Palestinian Authority on Monday, saying that its threat to dissolve and the ruling Fatah faction’s efforts to forge unity with Hamas indicate a lack of desire for peace.

“Today, we saw the Palestinian Authority speak of dismantling itself and also talking about unity with Hamas,” the premier told revelers at a Mimuna celebration in Or Akiva. “They should decide – either dissolve, or enter into a union with Hamas. When they want peace, they should let us know. Because we want a genuine peace.”

Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Monday denied that the Palestinian Authority has been considering dissolving itself if the peace talks with Israel fail.

Some officials were quoted over the past few days as saying that President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to dismantle the PA in protest against the lack of progress in the negotiations.

The reported threat, which comes as the April 29 deadline for the end of the peace talks approaches, is seen as an attempt to exert pressure on the US and Israel to comply with Palestinian demands, especially regarding the release of prisoners.

Members of the Fatah Central Committee who met in Ramallah on Monday night to discuss the crisis in the peace talks did not have the issue of dissolving the PA on their agenda, according to a senior Fatah official.

Gen. Adnan Dmeiri, spokesman for the PA security establishment, dismissed the talk about dissolving the PA as an “Israeli invention.” Israel was trying to create frustration among Palestinians by spreading such reports, he claimed.

The PLO Central Council, which is expected to meet later this week, does not plan to discuss the dismantlement of the PA, said Wasel Abu Yusef, a top PLO official.

The council would discuss the situation in Jerusalem, the prisoner release and efforts to establish a Palestinian unity government headed by Abbas, Abu Yusef said.

“No one is talking about the option of dissolving the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

“Rather, we are talking about international recognition of a Palestinian state and our efforts to join international treaties and organizations.”

Another PLO official, Qais Abu Laila, also ruled out the possibility that the PA might be dismantled. He said that this was “unrealistic” option and would not be on the agenda of the PLO council meeting. “I don’t believe that dismantling the Palestinian Authority is a healthy and right measure,” he said. “This would be suicidal.”

PLO Executive Committee member Tayseer Khaled said the dismantlement of the PA was not on the table. The Palestinians should instead reconsider their relations with Israel if the peace talks fail, especially with regards to economic and security cooperation, he said.

“If Israel does not abide by the agreements, the Palestinians also won’t adhere to them,” Khaled said.

However, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency quoted unnamed sources in the PA leadership as saying that the PA might be dissolved as a result of Israeli “intransigence.”

The sources said that the PLO’s Negotiating Department has begun studying ways of dissolving the PA and the repercussions of such a move.

The threat to solve the PA was not an “exercise,” the sources said. This option is on the table, they added.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority would constitute an “extreme step” that would “obviously have grave implications.”

“We, the United States, have put millions of dollars into this effort. It would obviously have very serious implications for our relationship, including our assistance going forward,” she warned at her daily press briefing in Washington.

“A great deal of effort has gone into building Palestinian institutions, by Palestinians, as well as by the international community,” she said. “It would certainly not be in the interest of the Palestinian people for all of that to be lost.”

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WW3? Syrian, Iranian Officials Say Israel Will Be “Set On Fire” If US Strikes

World war 3 nuclear background

Senior Syrian and Iranian officials have again warned that should the US pursue military action in Syria, the state of Israel will find itself firmly and immediately in their crosshairs.

“If Damascus comes under attack, Tel Aviv will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a license for attacking Israel,” said a Syrian army official in comments to Iran’s Fars News Agency.

“We are rest assured that if Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors,” the official said, maintaining anonymity during the interview.

The army official also stated that if the US chooses to help Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, their will be significant blowback in Israel.

“Weakening the central government in Damascus will actually start growing attacks on Israel and will create insecurity for that regime,” he said.

“Thus, a U.S. attack on Syria will herald frequent strikes and attacks on Israel, not just by Damascus and its allies in retaliation, but by extremist groups who will find a ground for staging their aspirations,” the official added.

Senior Iranian officials echoed the comments, with Hossein Sheikholeslam, the director-general of the parliament for International Affairs telling Fars News that “the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria.”

Iranian Member of Parliament Mansur Haqiqatpur was also quoted as saying that “In case of a U.S. military strike against Syria, the flames of outrage of the region’s revolutionaries will point toward the Zionist regime.”

The fresh threats come in the wake of similar comments made earlier in the week by Syrian Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah who warned that Israel will “come under fire” should the United states strike against the Assad regime. He added that the Syrian government has “strategic weapons aimed at Israel,” and warned that “If the US or Israel err through aggression and exploit the chemical issue, the region will go up in endless flames, affecting not only the area’s security, but the world’s.”

Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom quoted Muftah as also warning “It’s possible to say unambiguously that a process of war against Syria could lead to an all-out world war. The responsibility for that will rest on the US and the Zionist entity’s shoulders.”

The Beirut Daily Star quoted a “senior source close to” Hezbollah as saying that in the event of major Western strike against Syria “Hezbollah will fight on various fronts,” and predicting an immediate “inferno of a war with Israel.”

Pro-Hezbollah cleric, Afif Nabulsi, who is closely aligned with the Syrian and Iranian governments, was also quoted as saying that “any [US] strike against Syria will be met by harsh responses against US interests in the region and against Israel directly.”

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour stated in a radio interview that the country would retaliate if Israel “exploits a strike against Syria to attack Hezbollah.”

In response to the threats, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said “The State of Israel is ready for any scenario.” Following a meeting with security officials in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said “We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength.”

According to Israeli intelligence website DEBKAfile, the Israeli security cabinet held another emergency meeting today, ordering the partial mobilization of select, qualitative IDF reserve forces: Rocket, Air Force, missile interception, Home Defense command and intelligence units.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that an American military operation on Syria is scheduled to start Friday night, early Saturday Aug. 30-31. The report adds that US forces are finalizing a a major buildup at the huge US Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

“US air force reinforcements in Qatar will stand ready to rush to the aid of US allies – Israel, Jordan and Turkey – in the event of their coming under Syrian Scud attack.” the report states, adding that on the opposite side the Syrian army has been scattering personnel, weapons and air assets to pre prepared fortified shelters in order to limit damage and losses.

“Syrian army command centers in Homs, Hama, Latakia and the Aleppo region were also being split up and dispersed, after a tip-off to Syrian and Russian intelligence that they would be targeted by the US strike.” the report adds.

The Associated Press also reports that Israel has ordered a special call-up of hundreds of reserve troops to beef up civil defense preparations and to operate air-defense units near the border. Defense officials have confirmed the deployment of Iron Dome and Patriot missile-defense batteries in areas near the Syrian border, stating that they believe a US strike on Syria is imminent.

Israeli security and rescue forces are also engaged in a two-day drill in the Golan Heights along the Syrian border.

The intelligence supposedly handed to the US and its allies suggesting that the Syrian army was involved in the chemical attacks last week is said to have come predominantly via Israeli intelligence agencies.

While Chinese and Russian officials continue to warn of the grave global consequences of a US strike on Syria, Russian citizens are currently being evacuated out of the country.

Meanwhile even firebrand broadcaster Glenn Beck has come out against intervention in Syria, warning that because of China and Russia’s alignment with Iran and Syria, a wider war in the middle east would mean that the US “would not survive”.

Beck warned that “this is World War 3 in the making,” noting the Obama administration is on the exact same destructive warpath that the Bush government set out on 12 years ago.

Beck desperately appealed to his conservative listener base to find common ground with real liberals and hold huge anti-war rallies.

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No Good Reason: Why Are 104 Palestinian Terrorists Being Released?

gitmo release

What is truly puzzling about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposing to release more than 100 of the worst Palestinian terrorists to have ever murdered Israelis is that it is impossible to figure out any reason for him to do so. It is not just that one might oppose this plan, it is that I cannot think of a single reason for supporting it. Let’s go very carefully through the arguments, and try to find a reasonable one.

It is true, of course, that Israel has released prisoners before. Yet under different circumstances.

In one case, prisoners — sometimes in very large  numbers — were released in exchange for Israeli soldiers. This could be controversial, but also one could make a case for it. The prisoners might have been convicted on less serious charges, or they might have been near the end of their imprisonment. There was a nobility in putting the value of Israelis high, keeping the promise of doing everything possible to rescue them. And while the families of the victims could be considered, so could the families of the captives.

A second rationale for such releases is for a calculation of diplomatic gain. Perhaps the release of some prisoners will help bring a ceasefire, or get serious negotiations going — when we thought that these were possible — or get some valuable gains or material benefits from the West.

I have supported such past releases, painful and dangerous as they were.

But the curiosity here: why is Israel releasing the worst terrorists for no gain? Not even good publicity?

Surely it isn’t for domestic popularity. Because Israelis hate this decision.

Nor is it related to the previous Netanyahu strategy, which has been to humor Obama, play along, keep him happy, make minimal and low-cost concessions, and let the PA show it doesn’t want to make peace.

Nor will it get Israel any good publicity in Europe or America. On the contrary, the mass media will not tell the readers and viewers the extent of the crimes perpetrated by these terrorists, or generate sympathy for the real victims. If anything, the coverage will emphasize sympathy for the terrorists’ families, and leave the impression that the terrorists were political prisoners arrested for no good reason by the cruel occupation authorities.

Is the PA offering something? No.

Any hint that the PA will suspend the demand that all Palestinians can come live in Israel (and subvert it), or that it will recognize Israel as a Jewish state, or that the pre-1970 lines will be altered in Israel’s favor? No.

Any concession will be pocketed, and then the PA will demand more. We know that. The strategy of unilateral creation of Palestine, without any deal at all, will continue.

Perhaps some big prize will be given by the United States? Well, like what? In Egypt and Syria the United States is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood against Israel’s interests. In Turkey, Obama loves an anti-Israel Turkish government.

Is there some secret American promise? Well, what is an Obama promise worth? Obama has gone back on a pledge to support a frontier change to allow Israel to include large settlement blocs. And then there was Turkey, where President Obama personally mediated a deal in which Israel made concessions, than he did nothing when Turkey ignored all the provisions and openly broke the agreement.

Remember how Obama asked Israel for a construction freeze on settlements … and then gave it no credit when it did so? Twice?

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BREAKING NEWS – Its about to go down in Aleppo, Syria. as 80,000 troops are about storm the city.

80,000 troops are about storm the city. Arabiya

Some 80 thousand military forces trained by Lebanese Hezbollah were preparing to launch a ground offensive to recapture Syria’s commercial city of Aleppo.
According to a report in the UK-based Sunday Times, a Hezbollah commander said the fighters belonging to Syria’s National Defense Force (NDF) have been taught “to fight street by street.”
The fighters were also trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the newspaper added.
The commander on Sunday said Hezbollah will not deploy its fighters in Aleppo, but will only provide tactical support for forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“The battle for Aleppo will be fought by the NDF and the Syrian army, with Hezbollah supervising and providing military tactical advice on how to coordinate and conduct the offensive,” the Hezbollah commander said as quote by Sunday Times.
“It will consist mainly of commanders and experts advising and planning together with the Syrian army’s commanders in charge of Aleppo, on how best to utilize the men on the ground, how to advance and where to fight,” he added.
The planned assault on Aleppo aims to drive back Syrian opposition fighters who have been in control of the country’s second city.
Earlier this month, Assad forces regained control over the strategic town of Qusayr in Homs with the help of Hezbollah’s militia.
Regaining Aleppo “would strengthen the growing impression” that Assad is winning the war, the newspaper said.
On Friday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his militia’s intervention in Syria came in response to a “global project” led by the United States and Israel to control not only Syria but the Middle East as a whole.
The Hezbollah commander told the Sunday Times their group intervened in Qusayr because of the direct threat Syria’s Jabaht al-Nursa, extremist Islamist group affiliated with al-Qaeda, to Lebanon’s borders.
“Aleppo is more of a Syrian matter,” he said, adding that the group will continue its supportive efforts because it wants to “ensure the survival of Assad’s regime” to preserve what it considers “the axis of resistance” against Israel.
The Iran-backed group, a close ally of Assad, initially justified its involvement in the Syrian conflict by saying that it wanted to defend villages along the border where Lebanese Shiites live, and the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine near Damascus, which is revered by Shiites around the world.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition activists have reported that regime forces fired 700 missiles on Sunday towards southern Damascus.
Keep your eyes on Damascus for the prophecy concerning Damascus is slowly being fulfilled.

Isaiah17:1  The burden against Damascus.“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city,And it will be a ruinous heap.

Obama Picks up too Late on the Threat from Syrian Rebels

 

Syrian rebels with bloodied captured policeman in Aleppo.
Syrian rebels with bloodied captured policeman in Aleppo.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

While far too late, the Obama administration may be adopting a sensible policy on Syria. The strategy, however, is unlikely to succeed. Oh, and there is also a very important clue—I think the key to the puzzle—about what really happened in Benghazi.

Let’s begin with Syria. As U.S. officials became increasingly worried about the visible Islamist domination of the Syrian opposition—which their own policies had helped promote—they have realized the horrible situation of creating still another radical Islamist regime. (Note: This column has been warning of this very point for years.)

So the response is to try to do two things. The first is to train, with Jordanian cooperation, a more moderate force of Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. The idea is to help the non-Islamists compete more effectively with the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist, and especially al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra group) affiliated units.

The second is supposedly to create a buffer zone along Syria’s borders with Jordan and perhaps later Israel and even Iraq in order to avoid the conflict spilling over—i.e., cross-border jihad terror attacks—to those countries. According to the Washington Post:

The last thing anyone wants to see is al-Qaeda gaining a foothold in southern Syria next to Israel. That is a doomsday scenario,” said a U.S. diplomat in Jordan who was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.

Someone has also figured out that it isn’t a great idea to have a border with Iraq controlled by Syrian Sunni Muslim terrorist Islamists allied with the Sunni terrorists in Iraq who killed so many Americans. Well, might someone not have thought about that a year or two ago? Because, while nothing could have been more obvious there was no step taken to prevent this situation happening.

I should point out an important distinction. The problem is not merely al-Qaeda gaining a foothold but also other Salafists or the Muslim Brotherhood doing so. That, however, is not how the Obama administration thinks. For it, al-Qaeda is evil; the other Salafists somewhat bad; and the Muslim Brotherhood good.

What are the problems here? As so often happens with Western-formulated clever ideas to deal with the Middle East, there are lots of them:

–The United States has stood aside or even helped arm the Islamists through Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. So now the Islamist forces are far stronger than the non-Islamists. That cannot be reversed at this point.

–Might this buffer zone plan be laying the basis for a second Syrian civil war in which the Islamists band together against the FSA? In other words, here is this buffer zone that is backed by the West (imperialism!) to “protect” Israel (the Zionists!), Jordan (traitorous Muslims!), and Iraq (Shia heretics!)

–The training is limited and the FSA is badly divided among different commanders, defected Syrian army officers, and local warlords. The Brotherhood militia is united and disciplined. The result will be worse than Afghanistan because the Islamists would have both the government and the stronger military forces.

–A situation is being set up in which a future Muslim Brotherhood regime in Syria can blackmail the United States. Either it will force Washington to accept whatever it does (including potential massacres) by threatening to unleash Salafist forces on its borders or it will actually create confrontations.

–Why isn’t the United States working full-time to stop the arms flows to the Islamists by pressuring the Saudis and Qataris (perhaps the point of Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip but hardly effective) and to rein in Turkey’s enthusiasm for a Syrian Islamist regime?

Speaking of Turkey, now we see the reason for the attempted Israel-Turkey rapprochement, because on top of everything else there will be a Kurdish-ruled zone not run by moderates but by the Syrian affiliate of the radical PKK, which is at war with Turkey.

–These proposed buffer zones would not receive Western air support or international forces. Israel has the experience of maintaining a buffer zone in southern Lebanon for years by supporting a militia group. It succeeded for a long time by sending in Israeli troops covertly and taking casualties. In the end, rightly or wrongly, the effort was given up. Now Hezbollah—the equivalent though not the friend of the Syrian Salafists—is sitting on the border and already one war has been fought. It should be noted that Israel has by far the most defensible border with Syria.

Another question, however, is whether the buffer zone idea is real because it might camouflage something else. Suppose the United States wants to do something else entirely. This could mean to create a moderate, secularist force that might win a second Syrian civil war in which the rebels fought each other for power.

Alternatively, since northern Syria is now dominated by radical Islamists perhaps the U.S. policymakers hope that the southern part of the country could be a non-Islamist enclave. Control over that region might strengthen the hand of the non-Islamists in negotiating the new order in Syria or as a base for waging a second civil war. So this is the likely fruit of the first Syrian civil war, though that conflict is far from over. The old regime is still alive. What U.S. policy has helped to do is to create a big new threat to Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel. It’s also a threat to Lebanon, but since the Syrian Islamists will target the Iran-backed Hezbollah there, Washington doesn’t mind.

What does this have to do with Benghazi? According to the Washington Post:

Obama administration officials have expressed repeated concern that some of about 20,000 of the weapons, called MANPADS, have made their way from the arsenals of former Libyan dictator Moammar (sic) Gaddafi to Syria.

This weapons system might be the most technologically impressive arms ever to fall into the hands of terrorists. Once Libya’s regime fell (another U.S. foreign policy production), these weapons were grabbed by the Libyan rebels and sold to the Saudis and Qataris, who supplied them, respectively, to the Syrian Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to reliable sources, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was in Benghazi trying to get those MANPADS back and was negotiating with radical militias toward that goal. Stevens was doing something good—trying to take weapons out of the hands of terrorists—and not running weapons to terrorists.

Yet that doesn’t mitigate the mess unleashed by the administration’s policy. At any rate, Stevens and these efforts failed. The money was too good for the Libyan insurgents to pass up, not to mention helping fellow Islamists and anti-Americans. And now thousands of advanced, easily launched anti-aircraft systems are in the hands of anti-Jordanian, anti-Iraqi, anti-Israeli, and possibly anti-Turkish terrorists.

And just imagine the very real possibility of commercial passenger planes being shot at, or even shot down, by terrorists armed with a weapon they obtained because of U.S. government ineptitude or even involvement.

Originally published at Rubin Reports, under the title, “Flash! Threat from Rebel Syria Becomes Clear and What Really Happened in the Benghazi Murders,” April 4, 2013.

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Jihadist control at Israel’s northern borders casts shadow of war

Middle East power vacuums are fuel for war. A withdrawal of Assad’s army from across the Golan Heights, and fierce clashes between Hezbollah and Syrian rebels, threaten Israel on both northern fronts.
Israeli soldiers boarding a helicopter during the Second Lebanon War. August 12, 2006.
Israeli soldiers boarding a helicopter during the Second Lebanon War. August 12, 2006.
Photo Credit: Abir Sultan/FLASH90

Fierce clashes between Syrian rebels and Hezbollah at the Lebanese-Syria border, coupled with anarchy across from Israel’s Golan Heights, point to increasing chances of jihadist leaders taking control across the Israeli border from the Mediterranean Sea to the Golan.

Syrian soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have left the Golan region to back up the defense of Damascus against rebels, the London Guardian reported Sunday.

Mortar shell firing on the Golan Heights, initially errant but later followed by gunfire aimed at Israeli soldiers, have become more commonplace in the strategic mountainous area.

Syria occupied the Golan Heights before the Six-Day War in 1967. It never developed the area and never used it for anything else except as military posts to lob shells on Israel’s agricultural communities below.

Syria’s loss of the Golan to Israel, despite its nearly successful effort to retake it in the bloody Yom Kippur War in 1973, left Israel with a natural fortress of defense along with rich water sources. Every Israeli government since 1967 has encouraged development in the Golan, and more than half of the Golan Heights population now is Jewish. It is the home of major factories, including a winery with an international reputation, and a water bottling plant.

Unlike southern Israel, where the government and the IDF have played footsie with the Palestinian Authority and ensuing Hamas regime for more than 25 years, the IDF is quick to respond to any fire from Syria. The army fired guided missiles across the ceasefire line in the past two weeks.

The absence of the control of Assad, without any justification of his horrendous war crimes, has left Syrian rebels,  Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups in control of most of the area.

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“We are seeing terror organizations gaining footholds increasingly in the territory,” IDF Chief of Benny Gantz said last week. “For now, they are fighting Assad. Guess what? We’re next in line.”

Israel can no longer count on the United Nations peacekeeping force to man the demilitarized zone between the Israeli and Syrian borders. Rebels have ambushed and kidnapped U.N. troops, and the United Nations last week admitted it has been forced to “adopt a posture which is somewhat more static.”

As The Wall Street Journal wrote Monday, “In other words, fewer patrols and observation posts.”

The newspaper quoted a report a month ago from the Washington Institute, which stated, “Jihadist tactical gains on the Golan and the bleak outlook for Undof [U.N. peacekeeping forces] are fueling concerns that the days of longstanding quiet along the border are numbered…. Undof’s dissolution or incapacitation would end [up] … turning the area into a ‘hot border’ where jihadists could challenge Israel and provoke retaliation – a dynamic not dissimilar to Lebanon.”

Baruch Spiegel, former IDF commander of the IDF liaison unit responsible for relations with peacekeeping forces, told the Journal, “We have never faced this situation, but we have to act very responsibly. But worst case scenarios can bring us worst case answers.”

The situation in Lebanon  is no better, if not worse. Ostensibly, the Lebanese government controls the country, but in reality, Hezbollah controls southern Lebanon. Sunni Muslims in control of Tripoli engage in violent clashes on a weekly, if not daily basis, in an effort to wage war against the government dominated by Hezbollah political party and pro-Syrian parties.

The fragile government fell last week, and the new prime minister, Tammam Salaam, is faced with the influx of nearly one million Syrian refugees, both pro and anti-Assad. He also operates in the shadow of  the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist army, which had deployed itself alongside Assad’s forces.

Another bloody  clash on Sunday between Syrian rebels and Hezbollah left dozens of the terrorist army’s fighters wounded or killed, according to opposition sources quoted by the London-based Arabic language Al Asharq Awsat.

Throughout Lebanon, Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim factions are in all-out war against each other, and as each side gains allies and weapons from Syrian, there are enough arms to blow up the country into a civil war that would make the 15-year civil war in the 70s and 80s look like a schoolyard brawl.

Hezbollah alone has been estimated to have more missiles than most governments in the world.

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Warning from Hamas to Obama DO NOT VISIT TEMPLE MOUNT!!

TempleMountJerusalem-590x391aaaaa

Trip to Jerusalem’s holiest site would be ‘a diplomatic catastrophe,’ Islamists declare; mufti sets three conditions for presidential tour

Responding to unconfirmed rumors that US President Barack Obama intends to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during his trip to Israel next month, the Hamas terror group warned the American leader against the idea on Tuesday, calling it “a diplomatic catastrophe,” and local Muslim leaders set stiff conditions for a presidential tour there.

A statement issued by Hamas called Obama’s potential visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located at the southern perimeter of the Mount, “an imminent danger which the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem have never faced.”

Hamas stated that a visit by the American president to the contested site under the auspices of “the Zionist occupation” would be more dangerous than the relocation of any country’s embassy to Jerusalem, considering the international preeminence of the United States.

The Temple Mount, revered by Jews as the site of the first and second temples and by Muslims as the point from which Muhammad ascended to heaven, is administered by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a trust that has governed the site since the 12th century.

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Ekrima Sabri, who used to administer the Temple Mount as mufti of Jerusalem and currently heads the High Islamic Council in Jerusalem, told The Times of Israel that Obama would be allowed to visit the site only if he abided by three conditions.

According to a protocol drafted by the Waqf in 1967, official visitors may enter the Temple Mount through any of its 11 gates excluding the Mughrabi Gate, which is connected to the Western Wall plaza by a bridge.

“The Israeli army stole the keys to that gate from the Islamic Waqf, so entry through that gate gives the impression that Israel has sovereignty over Al-Aqsa,” Sabri said.

“We insist on Muslim sovereignty over the Temple Mount,” he said.

Israel took control of Jerusalem’s Old City, including the Temple Mount, in the 1967 Six Day War.

The other conditions placed by the Waqf on Obama’s visit are that no Israeli official accompany the president onto the mount, and that the visit be of a sight-seeing rather than a political nature.

Sabri said that in the past, visiting officials — including French President Jacques Chirac, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI — abided by the Waqf’s regulations.

“If Obama does not abide by these rules, we will refuse to accept him in Al-Aqsa,” Sabri concluded, adding that his organization intended to send a petition to the American consul general in Jerusalem next week outlining its conditions and protesting Israeli attempts to “Judaize” Jerusalem.

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The White House gave no indication that Obama actually planned to visit the Temple Mount.

A visit to the site by former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon while he was opposition leader in September 2000 is widely regarded as the immediate precursor — Israel says it was a pretext — for the outburst of the Second Intifada, marked by a strategic onslaught of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israel, and referred to by Palestinians as the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

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