By Abdelraouf Arnaout
Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the imam at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, has condemned criticisms of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leveled recently by Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Sabri -- who is also head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Muslim Council -- attributed Netanyahu’s remarks to the fact that Israel “doesn’t want any country to support the Palestinian cause”.
“Israel is used to distorting the facts,” he asserted. “But the world knows the truth.”
The Palestinians, he added, “appreciate the Turkish people, president and government for their steadfast support for Palestinian rights, especially in regards to Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
In a raft of Sunday tweets, Netanyahu attacked the Turkish president over Turkey’s counter-terrorism operations in the country’s southeast and the long-running Cyprus issue.
Erdogan responded to Netanyahu’s tirade by describing Israel as a promoter of “state terrorism”.
Concerning Israel’s plan to hold early elections, Sabri said Palestinians didn’t hold out much hope for the polls.
“Netanyahu might escalate tensions [with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip] to gain popularity [in the run-up to elections] and distract the public from the many graft allegations he faces," Sabri said.
“We’re not holding out much hope for these elections,” he added, “because the Jewish political parties all support what they refer to as the ‘Jewish state’ and the continued oppression of the Palestinian people.”