Arabs riot over Knesset discussing Temple Mount sovereignty bill

Muslim youths arrested for rioting as Arab MKs boycott Knesset debate.

Jordanian opposition party calls on their gov’t to cancel peace treaty with Israel.

By i24News


The Israeli Knesset on Tuesday debated a bill which envisages the “application of Israeli sovereignty” over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

مواجهات في باحة الاقصى ( صورة من الارشيف )

Rioting Muslims at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.- Photo source: i24News

The bill, introduced by MK Moshe Feiglin, a hardline member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, calls for Israel to annex the compound, Islam’s third-holiest site and Judaism’s holiest, which has been administered by Jordan for 20 years under a 1994 peace treaty.

In his address to the Knesset, Feiglin said: “Astonishingly, this is the first time that the Israeli parliament discusses the issue of Temple Mount sovereignty. Every terror organization can swing its flag there. But the Israeli flag? Unmentionable!”

“I call on the government to apply the full sovereignty of the State of Israel in the entire Temple Mount,” he added. “I call on the Israeli government to allow free access to any Jew to the Temple Mount through any gate, and allow them to pray.”

The debate was cause for chaos in the Knesset, with more than 30 MKs requesting to address the parliament, despite the debate’s merely declarative character. All Arab MKs meanwhile, said they are boycotting the debate.

MK Ahmad Tibi explained that the Arab MKs decision was due to the “pyromaniac meeting on the sovereignty of Al-Aqsa.”

Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On stressed that while she too believed that Jews have the right to enter and pray at the Temple Mount, the matter should be resolved in agreement with Muslim religious authorities.

Gal-On said that Feiglin’s initiative is “the match that may ignite the gunpowder on which the entire Middle East rests in order to harm the peace talks with the Palestinians.”


‘Cancel peace treaty with Israel’

Ahead of the Knesset debate Hezbollah-affiliated media released a statement applauding the Palestinian people for their struggle against Israel in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and called for a wide solidarity campaign focused on the importance of Palestine and Jerusalem to the Arab people.

“The increasing Zionist attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque are part of a project to destroy and make Jerusalem solely Jewish. The enemy is exploiting the current political conditions in order to terrorize the Palestinian territories and people,” the statement read.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy meanwhile, expressed his concern and urged the Israeli government to do what is needed to curb extremist Knesset members who entered the compound, and warned of possible consequences of religious tensions caused by damage to holy places.

Jordan’s opposition Islamists called on the government to freeze a 1994 peace treaty with Israel. “We urge the government to meet the demands of people who have repeatedly called for freezing and eventually cancelling the peace treaty,” the Islamic Action Front said on its website.

The Islamic Action Front , the political arm of Jordan’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, said the planned debate “proves that Jordanian policies in dealing with the enemy (Israel) have failed.”


Riots on Temple Mount

Two police officers were lightly injured Tuesday while dispersing rioting Muslims at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.


According to the police, a group of several dozen Muslim youths began rioting early in the morning, throwing rocks and fire crackers at passersby. Police, who were called to the scene broke into the Old City complex, which is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and dispersed the men using shock grenades.

Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted that three people were arrested and that the situation was under control.

The Palestinian protest was timed to coincide with an unprecedented debate scheduled for Tuesday evening on the potentially explosive proposal, tabled by radical right-wing MKs, to transfer sovereignty over Islam’s third holiest site into Israel’s hands. Currently, although Israel has annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem where the site is located, it enjoys special status under the protection of Jordan and the Muslim Waqf.

According to the Palestinian News agency Ma’an, Arab-Israeli MK Taleb Abu Arrar called on international officials and Jordanian King Abdullah II to pressure Israel to retract “such things and respect the sacredness of the place.”

Palestinian sources said tensions in the area were exacerbated by the announcement of a right-wing group that it planned to visit the site on Wednesday, pray there and plant an Israeli flag at the heart of the complex.

While anybody is allowed to visit the site, non-Muslims are forbidden to pray there for fear of offending Muslim worshipers and sparking religious clashes.


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