Mahmoud Habbash, a senior PA official who serves as President Abbas' Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs and as the Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'a Justice, said in an August 6, 2019 interview on the Syrian News Channel that normalizing relations with Israel constitutes treason as long as Israel is occupying Palestine and the Golan Heights. He also claimed that takfiri Islamic ideologies that encourage extremism, terrorism, and an Islamic state, which he said are completely different from Islam, were manufactured by the West as part of a conspiracy to tear the Arab and Islamic nations to shreds and to justify Zionism and the existence of a Jewish state.
Following are excerpts:
Mahmoud Habbash: Until Israel withdraws from occupied Palestine, and until it withdraws from the Golan Heights, normalizing [relations with Israel] constitutes treason. Normalizing [relations] with Israel while it is occupying Palestinian land and Arab land in the Golan is an act of treason. There are no two ways about this, [and this must be said] shamelessly and bluntly. I cannot imagine an Arab who is proud of being Arab, and who is proud of his religion and his patriotism, who can possibly accept something other than this.
This extremist, takfiri, and terrorist [Islamic] thought is not a new idea. It is an old idea that preceded even the Arab Spring.
Mahmoud Habbash: The so-called Arab Spring. The people who nourish this idea are those who say today that Islam is a religion of terrorism. They manufactured this idea, which is foreign to Islam and to our culture, and which we had not heard of in the past – neither in our ancient history nor our modern history. They are the ones who artificially created this. All these takfiri terms – even without discussing Islam – are the handiwork of the West and colonialism. Colonialism, and those who hate Islam, are the ones who manufactured this idea, and they are the ones who planted this idea in the hearts and minds of the younger generations and the youth. This idea has been nourished by injustice and oppression and by the absence of democracy, and so forth. This idea wants to present itself as an alternative to the Arab regimes and the Islamic regimes, and even as an alternative to Islam.
Mahmoud Habbash: Since Islam has nothing to do with this idea… This is a new religion. Those who advance it… This is not Islam. It is a different religion. Their religion is completely different from ours.
Interviewer: But this religion has spread throughout the Arab world.
Mahmoud Habbash: It has spread for many different reasons. It spread because there are those who pay for this to happen and who push for it to spread. This religion spread because there is a conspiracy being woven against the stability of the Arab nation. The basis of spreading this idea is in order to tear the Arab and Islamic body to shreds. In exchange for the so-called "Islamic State," they bring us the Jewish State. This is an attempt to justify the Jewish nature of Israel. This is a Jewish state versus an Islamic state – why should Muslims have the right to an Islamic state while Jews have no right to a Jewish state? This is what they are spreading. Those who manufactured the terms "Islamic State," Islamic movement, and so forth… They have the goal of justifying the existence of Zionism, this conspiracy, and its implementation against the Arab and Islamic nation.