Photo Credit: Sebi Berens/Flash90
Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. November 07, 2016

The official Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al Hayat Al Jadida criticized Hamas for not closing the mosques in the Gaza Strip to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, but yet on the same page reported criticism of Israel for closing the Al-Aqsa Mosque (on the Jewish people’s Temple Mount) to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, a situation the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which reported on the articles, described as an “absurd contradiction.”

One article reported the condemnation of Israel by the Islamic Waqf Council which accused Israel of exploiting the Coronavirus to harm Muslim worshipers by closing the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Waqf’s stand contradicted the instructions of the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs, but the official PA daily still printed the accusations against Israel.

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Meanwhile, a front-page editorial slammed Hamas for not closing mosques to contain the spread of the virus in Gaza.

The editorial stated that “the Muslim Brotherhood organization (i.e., Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza) … only recognize [their own] party religious rulings… And therefore they are currently attempting to break the [PA] government’s steps to quarantine the Coronavirus, including a temporary closure [by the PA] of the mosques so that the dangerous virus will not spread among the worshipers,” according to a translation by PMW.

“Al Hayat Al Jadida used yesterday’s front page to criticize Israel for something that it should have been praising,” said Nan Jacques Zilberdik, senior analyst at PMW

“While the PA rightfully condemned Hamas for not closing mosques, to prevent spread of the Coronavirus, it publicized a condemnation of Israel for doing just that – for attempting to close the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” she emphasized.

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