It is time to put the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, the Muslim authority that exercises jurisdiction over the Temple Mount, on notice. It has violated the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The convention, which became international law in 1951, defines genocide as an attempt to destroy — in whole or in part — a national, religious or ethnic group. It also lists actions that can be punished under the convention, such as direct and public incitement to genocide and complicity in genocide.
The convention also declares that people who engage in these and other acts are to be punished “whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.”
Clearly, members of the Waqf fall under the jurisdiction of this convention and it is beyond dispute that the Temple Mount over which they exercise authority has been used as a platform to incite genocide on a regular basis against Jews over the past few decades in clear violation of international law.
A few recent examples should give people a sense of the genocidal incitement broadcast on the Temple Mount, which Muslims call, ironically enough, “The Noble Sanctuary.”
In May 2017, Palestinian preacher Ali Abu Ahmad told a crowd atop the Temple Mount that “It is time for you to mobilize in order to finish off the monstrous entity of the Jews.” He also called on Allah to “annihilate the Jews” to which his audience said, “Amen.” He also called on Allah to enable his audience to kill the Jews, to which his audience also said, “Amen.” This incitement was documented by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Also that month, Sheikh Muhammad Ayed, another Palestinian cleric spewed similar incitement against Jews in another speech documented by MEMRI. ‘Ayed portrayed Jews as a demonic enemy that must be destroyed. “They are behind all the strife in the world. They cause all the killing, the slaughter, and the destruction everywhere,” he said on the Temple Mount.
And in October 2016, Sheikh Khaled Al-Mughrabi declared from a pulpit in the Al Aqsa Mosque that after a fight between Muslims and Jews in which the rocks and trees will assist in pointing out the location of Jews, “The children of Israel will all be exterminated ... and the Muslims will live in comfort for a long time.”
The fact that the Islamic Waqf that controls the Temple Mount allows Al-Mughbrabi to preach in Al Aqsa Mosque is a shock. According to the Times of Israel, Al Mughrabi has told “worshipers that Jews kidnap non-Jewish children in order to extract their blood into barrels with nails” and that “Jews control the world’s wealth and use their control of the pharmaceutical industry to spread disease.”
This is the type of rhetoric that laid the groundwork for the murder of Jews in Europe during the 20th century and here it is being broadcast by Muslim clerics from Judaism’s holiest site. Sadly, the Waqf is not the only institution in the Holy Land that has broadcast genocidal hostility toward the Jewish people. Palestinian leaders regularly speak in a hateful and genocidal manner about the Jews and such hostility has even made its way into Palestinian Authority textbooks.
Such acts of incitement—which are rampant in Palestinian society and the rest of the Middle East—are actionable under international law, even if the human rights community averts its eyes from these crimes.
The problem is particularly egregious at the Temple Mount where religious beliefs and energy conspire to amplify these messages of hate, which cause the deaths of both Arabs and Jews in ensuing attacks. And sadly enough, Muslim imams throughout the world—even in the United States—follow the example of the preachers of hate at the Temple Mount.
By allowing Muslim leaders to speak words of hate and violence against Jews from the heart of the holy city of Jerusalem, the imams who serve on the Waqf have done more than demonize Jews in the name of Allah—they have become accessories to and in some instances, perpetrators of a campaign of genocidal incitement in clear violation of international law.
Under the control of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, the holiest place in all of Judaism—the Temple Mount—has been used as a tool to promote genocidal hostility toward the Jewish people, not just in Israel, but throughout the world. Muslim officials responsible for this turn of events need to be held to account for their crimes.
The fact that no so-called human rights activists or journalists have called for the prosecution and punishment of the imams who exercise control of mosques and shrines on the Temple Mount does not lessen their culpability, but merely underscores the capricious manner in which the peace and justice crowd has invoked international law to further its anti-Israel agenda.
People of good faith can no longer stand aside as hapless bystanders to this outrage.
Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). His opinions are his own.