Mahmoud Abbas on the Anniversary of the Burning of Al Aqsa Mosque: Our Holy Places are the Red Lines we Won’t Allow to Cross



On Tuesday, August 21st, in a statement marking the 43rd anniversary of the burning of Al Aqsa Mosque, President Mahmoud Abbas said that the third holiest shrine in Islam still faces continuing threats.

"The arson attack at the hand of a fanatic criminal happened under the nose of the Israeli occupation authorities. It was the beginning of series that have not been interrupted since that fatal day. Their ultimate goal is to rob Muslims and Christians of their holy shrines, destroy the Al Aqsa mosque and build the alleged Jewish temple" – the statement reads.

Earlier in July, the Jerusalem Municipality issued a decision to convert Al Aqsa's yards into public gardens. Also, for the first time in Ramadan, Jerusalem police forces allowed Jewish settlers to storm into the mosque's yards, threatening Muslim worshippers.

Palestinian President reiterated in his statement that there will be no peace, no security and no stability  unless the occupation, settlers and settlements are gone from Jerusalem. He stressed that the city is at the core of Palestinian identity and remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian state.

The arson attack on the Al Aqsa mosque was committed by Michael Dennis Rohan, an Australian Christian fundamentalist. On August 21st, 1969, Rohan walked into the mosque, threw gasoline over the pulpit and set it alight.

The fire destroyed the eight-hundred-yeard-old Saladin's minbar and ancient wood work.

Rohan, a member of an evangelical sect who lived in Israeli kibbutz, attempted to burn the mosque in order to hasten the second coming of Jesus and help Jews rebuild the temple.

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