The current visits by UAE delegations to Israel, particularly to Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, have sparked harsh criticism from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which opposes the UAE-Israel normalization.
In his October 18, 2020 column in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Muwaffaq Matar, a member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, vehemently attacked an Al-Aqsa visit by a UAE delegation on October 15, accusing them of betraying the spirit of Islam and calling their false prayers pagan worship of Zionist idols aimed at pleasing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not Allah. Matar also claimed that Israel has transformed the delegation into "Virus BEN Z3" – a reference to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who promoted his country's normalization with Israel – in an attempt to infect the Arab ummah with it, but added that the ummah's immunity would reject it.
On October 16, Fatah secretary in Jerusalem Shadi Al-Matour issued a statement criticizing the delegation's Al-Aqsa visit, calling it "a new invasion of Al-Aqsa no different from the repeated incursions by the soldiers of the occupation and the settlers, who defile the Al-Aqsa plaza under the patronage of the occupation soldiers." He insisted that "the sovereignty over Jerusalem and the holy places is solely Palestinian, and the Arab brothers who want to visit Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa should coordinate [their visits] with the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people [i.e. the PA] and not enter via the occupation."
In a second statement two days later, in advance of another UAE delegation's October 20 visit to Israel led by its economic and finance ministers, Al-Matour stressed: "The questionable visits by Arab delegations, and especially the delegations from the UAE, are a dagger in the Palestinian heart, and it is a national and religious obligation to confront them in order to protect our holy places and our land, which are undergoing Arab-sponsored Israelization… The expected October 20 invasion by members of the UAE government, headed by the economic and finance ministers, will bring with it more arrows aimed at the Palestinian body…"
It should be noted that the PA's official echelons did not condemn the UAE delegation visits.
The following are translated excerpts from Muwaffaq Matar's column:
"What kind of prayer is this?! You entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the first direction of prayer for thousands of millions of Muslims in the world, under the protection of the soldiers of the army of the racist system of occupation and colonialism – Israel. We do not consider you as those who pray to Allah, but as unprecedented pagans worshipping the Zionist statues [i.e. the idols] Al-Lat and Al-Uza. Even though your intention was for [this worship] to take place at the most important mosque, may Allah bless its surroundings, you prayed for Netanyahu – who races against time to earn the title 'Prophet of Israel' – to be pleased with you [instead of Allah]. Oh you normalizers who fly on the wings of humiliation and surrender! If only you knew that the God of justice, truth, and peace [elevates] the prayer of the believer to the highest level of freedom [in contrast to your prayer].
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"For the first time, the walls of Al-Aqsa– the first direction of prayer – are witness to settlers [referring to the UAE representatives] whom a passerby would [likely believe,] if he saw them, that they were Muslim Arabs, bowing and kneeling on the holy floor [of the mosque], as true believing Muslims do. But you, the normalizers, with this false prayer of yours, have not betrayed the faithful of Al-Aqsa, nor the [East] Jerusalemites, nor the Palestinian guards who watch over it. Rather, you have betrayed the spirit of the Islam with which you envelop yourselves and which you use to masquerade [as Muslims]. Islam is justice, and you came and prayed as soldiers of the racist tyrant protected you, armed from head to toe.
"You, the normalizers, you prayed and pretended [to be the followers of] Allah. You acted out your questionable prayer of the hypocrite. You entered the third most important mosque [the first and second are in Mecca and Medina, respectively] and walked where the foot of the Prophet Muhammad trod, to support the lowly country of deceit and the political and security system of that which is called 'Israel.' [You did this] as if you do not know that he who bore the message of truth to the people called out to you from the noble Quran [2:42]: 'Do not mix truth with falsehood or hide the truth knowingly.'
"Thus, we consider you nothing more than soldiers in the army of deceit – for if this were not the case, would you not have asked yourselves who these armed soldiers are, who watched over you from the moment of your spiritual, religious, ethical, and moral deterioration that happened before you landed on the soil of occupied Palestine? What are they doing in the city of Allah? Did you not witness their crimes at the holy compound in Jerusalem – or do you think that it was Abraha Al-Ashram Habashi who set fire to Al-Aqsa 50 years ago, not settlers protected by the soldiers of the occupation army who attacked and fired at Muslims at prayer... where you prayed, as you were forced to by the tyrant and occupier who does not conceal his intentions to destroy Al-Aqsa and take over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and all that is holy to the Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem?
"I fear that you thought that Al-Aqsa was a tourist center like the Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv, where [there are exhibits of] the remnants of the criminal armed 'Haganah' gangs [sic] – a clandestine organization of the Zionist movement at the time of the British Mandate, prior to the establishment of your Israel.
"So [understand this]: Al-Aqsa is purer and more exalted than the power of those who brought you to this moment, which humiliates your characters and what you represent. [It is also more exalted than] the power of your rulers, who are accomplices in the crime of the eradication of the sanctity and status [of Al-Aqsa] – [eradication] not just from the consciousness of the Muslims and from their belief, but also from the consciousness and culture of the Christians and all the peoples who believed in true peace – not in the peace between committees from the countries in the region, and of technological arms deals, and of agreements that strengthen the status of the Israeli occupation system...
"Oh normalizers, the occupiers have transformed you into a virus to implant in the lungs and heart of the [Islamic] ummah. They planned your campaign of storming Al-Aqsa [to take place during] the time of the coronavirus, a time when decisions prohibiting Muslims from going there are enforced using the pretext that this will reduce the spread of the pandemic.
"And so you, the normalizers, have become the first virus – which we will call Virus BEN Z3, after the COVID-19 virus. But we are certain that the immunity of the body of the Arab-Islamic ummah and of the nation of free, true, peace-loving people in the world will reject your virus, so that it will remain in your veins and your tissues and will never escape. [It will never escape] but through your purification in the waters of Arab nationalism, your return to your faith, and the end of your falsification and distortion of Arab morality and Islamic worship."
 Several days after the declaration of Israel-UAE normalization, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Muhammad Hussein published a fatwa banning Emiratis from visiting Al-AqsaSee MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8933, Muslim Clerics: Fatwa Issued By Grand Mufti Of Palestine Prohibiting Emiratis From Visiting Al-Aqsa Has No Basis In Shari'a, September 15, 2020.
 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), October 16, 2020.
 Qudspress.com, October 18, 2020.
 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), October 18, 2020.
 Two of the three major idols from the pre-Islamic period.
 Abraha Al-Ashram Habashi was a sixth-century Habashi-Christian general who conquered the south of Arabia and later declared himself king of Yemen. He is best known for his failed attempt to conquer Mecca around the time of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad in 570.
 He is referring to Denis Michael Rohan, an Australian Christian, who set fire to the pulpit in the Al-Aqsa mosque in August 21, 1969.