Muslim holy site’s booze-filled dance party sparks outrage at Palestinian Authority

The party was organized by Arabs, Muslims and Christians, residents of eastern Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah.

By Baruch Yedid, TPS

Palestinian Authority (PA) ministries have engaged in a blame game following a public storm caused by an alcohol-infused dance party at Nabi Musa, a site holy to Muslims, which has become the hottest topic on social media.

On Saturday afternoon, a dance party was held at Nabi Musa in which young men and women participated.

Nabi Musa, near Jericho, is considered a sacred site to Muslims.

The party was organized by Arabs, Muslims and Christians, residents of eastern Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Clips uploaded by the celebrants to the social networks show that the young men and women celebrating to the sounds of load electronic music. Social networks were quick to note that large amounts of alcohol were spilled at the scandalous party and cannabis was seen at the event.

Following the announcement of the party, Arabs from Jerusalem organized a convoy near Ma’ale Adumim, drove to the party and shut it down.

The revelers were evacuated from the site under the auspices of the IDF while claiming to the attackers that they had received permission from the PA’s Ministry of Tourism to hold the event there.

However, following the celebrants’ claims, the anger is now being directed at the PA, which was quick to announce the establishment of a commission of inquiry.

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh ordered the establishment of a committee to investigate the incident but called for patience until the results of the investigation are published.

The PA’s Ministry of Tourism and the Waqf have been exchanging accusations. The Ministry of Tourism denies it granted permission, but dozens of angry reactions on social media state that the PA gave permission to harm the holy place.

Many surfers claimed that the Authority has failed in its task of managing the holy site and does not supervise it as required. It should be noted that the site is located in Area C under Israeli responsibility.

Former local government minister Abed Hamdan Zidan said that Nabi Musa “is an important site for the defense of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa, but now, it is becoming a haven of immodesty.”

Hamas also joined the condemnation and Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif Kanoa condemned the event which was “contrary to the tradition and morals of our people and the violation of the sanctity of the House of God in Nabi Musa, with the approval of the government and the Ministry of Tourism,” and said Hamas views the event as “a provocation against the feelings of the Palestinian people.”

Many surfers blamed the “occupation,” Israel, as the one responsible for harming the holy site, and others blamed the celebrants for “adopting the behavior of the Zionists.” Other surfers claimed that a group of Jews held the party.

Social activist Roa Abu Diya, tweeted “what morality exists in alcohol, dancing with women and hashish in the Prophet Musa Mosque, and with a license from the Ministry of Tourism. Are these mosques or discos?”

The incident added to the existing religious tension between Christians and Muslims in the area and which recently erupted with the Hamas administration’s ban on Muslims taking part in Christian celebrations and following a series of anti-Christian incidents in the PA.

Many surfers shared posts accusing young Christians of being responsible for the party at the site holy to Islam.

Journalist Alaa Rimawi wrote that “what happened last night in Nabi Musa is disgusting and shameful. The mobilization of some suspected Christians behind the incident and whoever is behind it came to ignite a civil war.”

Elias, a young Christian from eastern Jerusalem, told TPS that Christians have nothing to do with the event.

“In the networks and in eastern Jerusalem, Muslims are calling for the burning of the Christians and their homes, although it is not certain that only Christians celebrated there,” he clarified in a conversation with TPS.

He said Christian sources were quick to make it clear that these were not young Christians celebrating Christmas.

The Nabi Musa site is important to Muslims due to its proximity to the Land of Monasteries and the Judean Desert and due to its location on the road to Jerusalem. According to Muslim tradition, Moshe is buried at the site and is named after him.

A cemetery near the site is attributed according to the residents of the area to Salah ad-Din.