Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Iraq Ahmed 'Aql complained that U.S. President Trump had recognized Jerusalem "as the capital of the Jewish people," saying that they constitute "a religion, not a people." Asked what would happen if the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units decided to go to Palestine to liberate it, 'Aql said that the entire Palestinian people would welcome them. "Everybody will support them, because people are seeking a new Saladin or a new Nebuchadnezzar," he said in the May 23 interview with the Iraqi Al-Rased TV channel.
Ahmed 'Aql: "The most dangerous part about all of this is that Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people, and not [just] the capital of Israel. This means that he considers the Jews to be a people, whereas, in fact, they constitute a religion, not a people."
Interviewer: "Was this a deliberate mistake or a slip of the tongue?"
Ahmed 'Aql: "This is what the Jews are demanding. They are trying to establish that Judaism constitutes a people, which is not true. Judaism is a religion, like Islam or Christianity."
Interviewer: "What if the [Iraqi] Popular Mobilization Units decide to go to Palestine and liberate it?"
Ahmed 'Aql: "We would say: 'Welcome.'"
Interviewer: "Who would welcome them?"
Ahmed 'Aql: "The entire Palestinian people."
Interviewer: "Despite all that is going on in the region and in the media?"
Ahmed 'Aql: "Let's distinguish between theory and practice. Theoretically speaking, the Palestinians are looking for someone to help them liberate their land. There is a consensus about this. So whoever trains his guns on the Zionist enemy and liberates Palestine..."
Interviewer: "[The PMU] fought on their own land, but were still called 'militia,' 'terrorists,' 'Safavids,' and 'Zoroastrian.' What will they call them if they go to someone else's land?"
Ahmed 'Aql: "Well, if they go to Palestine, that's a different story. Everybody will support them because people are seeking a new Saladin or a new Nebuchadnezzar."
Interviewer: "Some of them believe that Saddam Hussein was that man. There was a large demonstration in London or another European capital, and they were holding Saddam Hussein posters."
Ahmed 'Aql: "You know why? Because he attacked Israel with missiles. That's it. Whoever attacks Israel with missiles – whether Saddam Hussein, Hassan Nasrallah, or any other Arab or Islamic leader – will continue [to win the support] of the people..."
Interviewer: "They didn't hold posters of Hassan Nasrallah, only of Saddam Hussein."
Ahmed 'Aql: "Our people sing the praises of Hassan Nasrallah always and everywhere."