Hamas on Tuesday called on Palestinians to launch an intifada to prevent the "Zionist plot" to take over Jerusalem.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, urged the Palestinians to join forces against Israel's "intentions" to drive out Muslims and Christians from Jerusalem.

"What happens in Jerusalem will lead to an explosion in the region, and we are studying the response that will bring vitory for Al-Aksa Mosque," Channel 10 quoted a spokesman for the group's military wing as saying.

In a Gaza rally, senior Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum called on the Fatah leadership in Ramallah to assist the "resistance movements" in their struggle against "Israeli war crimes in Jerusalem."

Israeli Arab MKS also harshly criticized the government over clashes that broke out between Palestinian rioters and security forces in the capital, blaming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policies for the unrest.

MK Taleb A-Sanaa (UAL-Ta'al), who visited the Aksa Mosque compound on Tuesday morning, said that "the Netanyahu government is dangerous and irresponsible, leading the area to a third intifada."

Sanaa called on the Arab League to put the issue of Jerusalem at the top of its priorities. "Jerusalem is the key to peace and the key to war," he said.

MK Haneen Zuabi (Balad) also criticized the government, calling its policy in Jerusalem "no less than ethnic cleansing."

This policy "is a strong motive for launching a third intifada, even more than [former prime minister Ariel] Sharon's Temple Mount visit [after which the 2001 intifada broke out]," Zuabi said.

"I warn the government of an escalation that will ignite the field and will lead the region to a violent conflict. We will not stand by as the Palestinians' rights, and specifically the rights of Jerusalem's residents, are trampled upon," Zuabi said.

The IDF issued a response condemning remarks by Hamas officials.

"Israel with disgust the recent contemptuous, anti-Semitic remarks of senior Hamas officials, aimed at inflaming emotions in the region," the statement read. "These tenebrous, ignorant and venomous remarks disseminated by the Hamas terror organization against Jews and Judaism, once again emphasize that Hamas is not only a violent, murderous terror organization, which has caused grief and sorrow to all nations in the region, but is also an active anti-Semitic organization whose foundation documents refer to Jews as animals and advocate the murder of Jews.

"Israel calls on intellectuals of all religions and beliefs to resolutely condemn these declarations of incitement and animosity made by the senior officials of this anti-Semitic terrorist organization against Jews and non-Jews alike," the statement concluded.

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