Turkey’s Erdoğan issues a veiled threat of killing each and every Jew amid Jerusalem tension

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has issued a veiled threat on Monday of killing each and every Jew with a shocking reference to apocalyptic prophecy of tree story.

Erdoğan said at an event held in the capital Ankara to mark Human Rights Day that “Those who think they own Jerusalem better know that tomorrow they will not even be able to hide behind trees,” in a a reference to widely circulated Islamist prophecy of hunting down and killing every Jew before the Day of Judgement.

According to a belief that Erdoğan refers to, the Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims and Jews fight each other. The Muslims will kill the Jews with such success that they will then hide behind stones or both trees and stones according to various recensions, which will then cry out to a Muslim that a Jew is hiding behind them and ask them to kill him.

The only one not to do so will be the Gharqad tree as it is the tree of the Jews. Different interpretations about the Gharqad tree mentioned in the Hadith exists. One of the interpretations is that the Gharqad tree is an actual tree. Israelis have been alleged to plant the tree around various locations for e.g., their settlements in West Bank and Gaza, around Israel Museum and the Knesset.

Other claims about the tree are that it grows outside Herod’s Gate or that it is actually a bush that grows outside Jaffa Gate which some Muslims believe where Jesus will return to Earth and slay the Dajjal, following the final battle between the Muslims and unbelievers which some believe will take place directly below the Jaffa Gate below the Sultan’s Pool.

Another interpretation that exists is that the mention of the Gharqad tree is symbolic and is in reference to all the forces of the world believed to conspire with the Jews against Muslims.

President Erdoğan has also said that the US is responsible for the bloodshed in Jerusalem after clashes erupted in the city following US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise it as the capital of Israel. “Those who turn Jerusalem into a prison for Muslims and members of other religions will never be able to clear the blood off their hands,” Erdoğan said on Monday.

Stressing that Washington is also responsible for the bloodshed in the area, the president said of Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: “The U.S. has become a partner in bloodshed by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. We definitely do not recognize this decision, we will not recognise it. President Trump’s statement does not bind us, nor the world of Islam.”

Stating that an Israeli state did not exist in the 1940s, Erdoğan said today the picture is entirely different. The president contended that the West divided Palestine in time and turned it into a state composed of tiny pieces. “I wish that the reactions of the Western countries against the United States’ Jerusalem decision constitute a breaking point in their inconsistent Israeli policy,” he added.

Erdoğan stated that the continuation of vandalism and oppression in Jerusalem is not possible. The president warned that those who deem themselves as the owners of the city will not even be able to find a tree to hide themselves behind.

Erdoğan vowed that the struggle will not be finalized until a Palestinian state with the borders of 1967 is established. “This struggle will not end until the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state, whose capital is the city of east Jerusalem, within the borders of 1967. There is a role of the US and European politics that supports Israel’s unjust occupation and settlements in what is happening today.”

The ongoing Jerusalem dispute will be a decisive point in determining who is sincere in its quest for peace, Erdoğan said. “In this case, nobody who is not on the side of the oppressed and righteous can say a word about human rights or global and regional peace. We will follow the declarations and statements on the subject of Palestine and Jerusalem, and we will give everyone their note accordingly,” added he.

Erdoğan’s tone over the weekend was even harsher. “Israel is a perfect invader state,” Erdoğan said. He also called Israel “a terrorist state.” “We won’t leave Jerusalem to the mercy of a child-murdering country.”

Also on Tuesday, Turkey criticized what it said was a feeble Arab reaction to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying on the eve of Wednesday’s Muslim summit in İstanbul that some Arab countries were scared of angering Washington.

Several countries had still not said who they would send to İstanbul, a Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. “Some Arab countries have shown very weak responses (on Jerusalem),” Çavuşoğlu said. “It seems some countries are very timid of the United States.”

He said Egypt and the United Arab Emirates would send foreign ministers while Saudi Arabia had yet to say how it would participate. All three countries have delicate ties with Turkey, seeing links between the policies of Erdoğan’s Islamist-rooted ruling AKP and regional Islamist movements they oppose.

Other countries had also not said who they would send, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries must stand up to what he called Washington’s “I am a super power, I can do anything” mentality. “We will make a call for countries that have so far not recognized Palestine to do so now,” he said. “…We want the United States to turn back from its mistake.”

US President Trump stoked the flames of a new crisis in the region after he signed a decision to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and recognizing the latter as the capital of Israel. The sensitivity of the Jerusalem site comes from the fact that it is to Jews known as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.. The site includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, and the golden Dome of the Rock. It was also the site of an ancient Jewish temple, the holiest place in Judaism.

Jerusalem was first put under international sovereignty and control with the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which recommended the division of historical Palestine between Jewish and Arab states in order to end the conflict in the region. The UN opted for a special status, as Jerusalem is holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. However, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Israeli forces declared western Jerusalem part of their state, ignoring the UN recommendation. In 1967, Israel again targeted Jerusalem, taking control of the eastern part of the city, which was previously under Jordanian control.

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