CAIRO - Prominent Islamist preacher Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi has called for a holy war against Israel, an Egyptian newspaper reported Wednesday.
"Muslims must carry out jihad to liberate all the land of Islam. Palestine does not belong only to the Palestinians but to all Muslims," Qaradawi was quoted as saying by the Al-Masri Al-Yom independent daily.
The Egyptian-born cleric, best known for his regular appearances on the Qatari satellite channel, Al-Jazeera, said that the Islamic world "needs men like those of Hezbollah: in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and everywhere".
"There isn't even an Arab willingness to fight Israel," he complained at a seminar at the University of Cairo, adding: "The peace that the Arab leaders are calling for is in fact a capitulation."
Qaradawi, who now lives in Qatar and has close links to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, said that Islamic law, or sharia, dictated "if a land of Islam is occupied, the entire population must resist and start jihad."
The 78-year-old achieved star status with his appearances on Al-Jazeera's weekly religious affairs programme "Al-Shariaa wa Al-Haya" (Islamic Law and Life) and has consistently defended Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel.