Hitting back at last month’s controversial UAE-Israeli deal, a group of global Muslim scholars on Tuesday issued a religious ruling (fatwa) forbidding normalization with the Israeli occupation.

The ruling came in a statement by the Qatar-based International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) regarding the normalization of relations with Israel, which occupies Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the holy city of Jerusalem.

The group reiterated the right of the Palestinian people to regain their lands.

“The Palestinian cause is not just a political issue, but an issue related to the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” it said.

Al-Aqsa, located in Jerusalem, represents the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims after Mecca and Medina.

The Palestinian issue is “a case of invasion and occupation by the Zionists of the land of Palestine under the British Mandate that ended with the division, then the occupation of most of the Palestinian lands,” the union said.

“And today they want to gulp what was left by fraud, killing, displacement and systematic destruction.”

The scholars union stressed that normalization agreements are “not reconciliations or truces… rather, they are a concession of the holiest and most blessed of lands and a recognition of the legitimacy of the occupying enemy.”

On Aug. 13, the United Arab Emirates and Israel announced a US-brokered agreement to normalize their relations, including opening embassies in each other’s territory.

The Palestinian Authority and resistance factions have denounced the UAE-Israel deal, saying it does not serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority said that any normalization with Israel should be based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative on the principle of “land for peace” and not “peace for peace” as Israel calls for.

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