Amid growing tensions in
east Jerusalem, senior Hamas figure
Mahmoud al-Zahar leveled scathing criticism, replete with anti-Semitic rhetoric, over the rededication of the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City's Jewish Quarter.
"You who are opening Hurva are heading towards ruin. Wherever you have been you've been sent to your destruction. You've killed and murdered your prophets and you have always dealt in loan-sharking and destruction," he said Monday, during a conference of Palestinian groups in Gaza.
"You're destined to be destroyed. You've made a deal with the devil and with destruction itself – just like your synagogue," al-Zahar said.
The Hamas figure called on Palestinians everywhere to observe five moments of silence "for Israel's disappearance and to identify with Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque".
Al-Zahar urged the Arab world to respond to "Israel's crimes and protect the sites that are holy to Muslims and Christians from the Zionists' racist onslaught".
At the conclusion of his address, the Hamas figure called on the Palestinian Authority not to negotiate with Israel, adding "the resistance movements must prepare for the liberation of all of Palestine and for the return of the refugees to their homes."
Tensions between Palestinians and Israel have escalated in recent weeks following an Israeli government decision to include West Bank religious sites in a Jewish national heritage plan and
to construct 1,600 additional housing units in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.