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Hizb al-Tahrir: 'Muslim armies' needed to end Israeli occupation

Jan. 2, 2016 1:16 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 2, 2016 8:42 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Hizb al-Tahrir political organization on Friday praised individual attacks recently carried out by Palestinians but said the power of “Muslim armies” was needed to end Israeli military occupation.

A senior Hizb al-Tahrir leader active in the group’s Palestine branch, Musab Abu Arqub, told Ma’an in an interview that the group viewed the wave of attacks that began in October as a “popular reaction to the Israeli occupation.”

“Individual attacks annoy and agonize the occupation, but they won’t be enough to achieve the needed liberation,” Abu Arqub said.

Hizb al-Tahrir -- a pan-Islamic political organization with the goal of uniting all Muslims into one state with an elected Caliph as its head -- was founded in Jerusalem in 1953.

The group has had a vocal presence in the occupied Palestinian territory since and believes that the establishment of an Islamic caliphate would end Israeli military occupation.

Musab Abu Arqub told Ma’an that one of the party’s main goals in Palestine was to raise awareness that the most legitimate and practical way for “liberating Palestine comes through jihad by heavily-equipped Muslim armies.”

“We call upon the people of Palestine to raise their voices and concentrate their efforts on urging Muslim armies to support Palestine and al-Aqsa mosque, and expel the Jews from the blessed land of Palestine,” the senior leader said.

When asked about the role of Hizb al-Tahrir supporters in regards to violations carried out by Israel at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Abu Arqub told Ma’an that the group has been active in defending the holy site “side by side along with the Murabiteen.”

The Murabiteen is a group composed of volunteers who often stay inside the compound with the aim of preventing groups of right-wing Jews from entering.

The group was banned in September by the Israeli defense minister on the grounds that their activities were "a main factor in creating the tension and violence" at the compound.

Under the new legal conditions, anyone who organizes, finances or participates in the groups' activities could face trial.

When asked about Hiz al-Tahrir’s stance on the Islamic state group, Abu Arqub said that the group was “nonsense and worthless from a religious point of view” as it “lacks the legitimate requirements of an Islamic caliphate.”

Hizb al-Tahrir has largely avoided confrontation with Israeli authorities due to the group’s believed lack of participation in armed activity against Israel.

The group has typically carried out its mission through public addresses, hanging posters, and releasing statements, but its vocal criticism of Palestinian political parties has in the past led to the arrest of Hizb al-Tahrir supporters by Palestinian forces.

Speaking on divisions between Palestinian factions, Abu Arqub told Ma’an that political rivalries “do not represent the people of Palestine.”

The Hizb al-Tahrir official said the group rejects negotiations with Israel on the grounds that they “give occupation legitimacy,” adding that acceptance of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders would be “a crime,” regardless of who makes the decision.

“We have already warned Hamas of following in the footsteps of Fatah and joining an authority under occupation,” Abu Arqub said, referring to the Palestinian Authority created through the Oslo Accords.

Abu Arqub condemned Palestinian leadership in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for “forcibly prohibiting” the group's activities by denying the group access to public places and by “warning owners of conference halls against hosting symposiums” organized by the group.
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