Palestinian scholars seek end to truce

Oct. 22, 2005 at 8:32 AM
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GAZA, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Islamic Scholars Association Saturday called for an end to the truce between the Palestinian factions and Israel.

In a statement, the association urged the factions and the Palestinian Authority to renege on its commitment to the truce with Israel as a response to the storming of Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque by Jewish extremists.

On Wednesday, a group of 50 Jewish settlers stormed the compound of al-Aqsa, Islam's third holiest shrine, and held religious rituals there under tight Israeli security and after an Israeli court allowed them to do so.

The head of the association, Sheikh Hamed al-Bitawi, said in a statement the Jewish event in the mosque's compound was "very dangerous and threatens the re-occupation of al-Aqsa and its division."

He said that preventing thousands of Muslim worshippers from reaching the mosque was an Israeli violation, blaming the Israeli government for the "desecration of holy shrines by Jewish extremists."

Al-Bitawi criticized the Arab and Muslim countries for failing to condemn the latest Jewish move and urged them to defend the holy shrine.

The Islamic Hamas movement earlier this week accused the Israeli government of allowing settlers to "desecrate" al-Aqsa, warning the Palestinian uprising might re-erupt "in the face of cowardly conspiracies."

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