Gaza-based terrorist group says that by praying at the holy site, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had “defiled Al-Aqsa with a Jewish ritual” • Hamas: Pence’s speech before Israeli parliament proves the U.S. has a strategic alliance with the Zionist entity.
Hamas on Tuesday denounced U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, saying his prayer there “desecrated” a Muslim place of worship.
The Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, is part of the Temple Mount compound, which also houses Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Pence visited the site on the last leg of his Middle East tour. He stood solemnly with his hand on the wall and left a note, as people who pray there traditionally do. In response, the Gaza Strip-based terrorist group said that by praying at the Wall, Pence had “defiled Al-Aqsa with a Jewish ritual.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Pence’s tour in Israel was “unwelcome.” He accused the U.S. of promoting pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian policies, saying that Pence’s speech before the Israeli parliament “proves the USA has a strategic alliance with the Zionist entity.”
America “doesn’t take the interests and requirements of the Islamic and Arab nation into consideration,” Haniyeh said.
He accused the Trump administration of targeting “the principles of the Palestinian cause” by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cutting funds to U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the agency responsible for Palestinians refugees and their descendants.
Hamas further praised Arab Israeli lawmakers who disrupted Pence during his Knesset address.
Joint Arab List MKs hoisted signs reading, “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine” during the speech and heckled the vice president. They had to be forcibly removed from the plenum.
Pence responded to the fracas by saying with a smile: “It is deeply humbling for me to stand before this vibrant democracy.”
The Palestinians called for a general strike across the West Bank and east Jerusalem on Tuesday in protest of Pence’s pledge that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019.
Demonstrations protesting Pence’s visit were held in Bethlehem and Nablus on Monday. In both locations, protesters shouted anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans as they waved crossed-out posters depicting Trump and Pence, and some even burned them.