Haredim not the only ones to object to dancers for Jerusalem: Muslim clerics slammed the Palestinian Authority this weekend over a festival held in the West Bank city of Ramallah as part of the events for Jerusalem – the 2009 capital of Arab culture.
Eighteen dance companies from the territories and around the world took part in the Ramallah performance, which was attended by thousands of people. The show was also viewed by senior PA officials, including Dr. Rafiq al-Husseini, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' chief of staff who was in charge of the Palestinian committee tasked with producing the celebrations.
The bands drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd, but the Muslim clerics were less enthused, saying that "Jerusalem will not be returned through dancing."
One of the clerics added cynically, "The PA must have discovered that dancing is the most efficient way to restore the Palestinians' right over occupied Jerusalem."
Dancing in village of al-Yamoun (Photo: AP)
Sheikh Abdullah al-Shami, an Islamic Jihad leader, said cynically, "There is no doubt this is the most appropriate event as far as the PA is concerned in order to respond to the Zionists' policy of Judaizing Jerusalem. We must dance in the shadow of the situation Jerusalem is in."
He expressed his surprise over the fact that "while the PA talks about an economic crisis and cannot pay workers' salaries, it spends huge amounts of money on male and female dancers."
In his remarks, al-Shami sent a particularly poignant message to the PA leadership: "We thank you, and God bless you and your dances. God willing, you will bring about the liberation of Jerusalem through dancing."
Sheikh Hassan al-Jouju, head of Gaza's Sharia courts, said that the Palestinians reject with disgust the use of Jerusalem's name as part of "this lawless festival".
"Jerusalem is sacred and pure, and its status is derived from what Allah has given to it, and it does not need this nonsense. It needs courageous national standings which will thwart the Judaization schemes and the digging under the al-Aqsa Mosque."
He went on to ask, "Why didn't we hear the voice of the mufti and the head of the Sharia courts in the West Bank in light of these actions?"
Al-Jouju added that "those who approved this event, who let these groups dance on the wounds of our people, on our suffering and the cries of pain of the al-Aqsa Mosque, those who approved this event are not Palestinians."
Senior Hamas member Hamed Bitawi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that "this festival contradicts Islamic law. The Palestinian nation is a nation of jihad and resistance, and this festival damages its image and the memory of the martyrs and their blood. Shame will follow those who approved these cheap festivals."