Israeli minister praises Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of Hamas

Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh

Israeli Communications Minister, Ayoub Kara, has praised the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia for condemning the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas as a “terrorist organisation”.

Kara tweeted on Monday that he welcomed comments by Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, in which the scholar condemned “the killing of Jews” by Hamas.

Kara’s tweet praised the mufti for saying that “Hamas is a terrorist organisation that hurts the Palestinians and the al-Aqsa Mosque protests are a form of demagoguery.”

According to Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, the mufti had appeared on a television programme and was asked about fighting against Israel. The mufti responded by saying that Hamas is a terrorist organisation.

The mufti was also asked about the wave of protests that swept Jerusalem after Israeli authorities placed metal detectors at the gates to the compound in July.

He also welcomed the creation of a new centre in Madina called the “King Salman Complex for the Prophet’s Hadith”.

It aims to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts.”

According to Emirati news site The National, the mufti said that he hoped people would study proper Islamic education “to liberate people from the darkness of thought, the extremism and misinterpretation of the Koran.”

It is not the first time the Grand Mufti has alluded to “demagoguery” in discussing Palestinians.

In August 2014, according to Alghadeer TV, he called on citizens to support Palestinians with humanitarian aid and not to march in the streets, which he described as “mobs” and “exaggerations.”

Since Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies broke relations with Qatar, relations with Hamas have also been severed.

Hamas’s foreign relations chief, Osama Hamdan, told Al-Mayadeen in May that “our relationship with Saudi Arabia is at a standstill at the moment.”

In August, Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh described Hamas as a “terrorist organisation” and condemned Hamas’ relations with Iran.

The comments by the grand mufti along with the new “modernisation” policies introduced by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has been positively received by Israel, including Saudi’s recent tough stance against Hezbollah, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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