Israeli Arab extremists and Palestinian Authority clerics held a press conference Sunday to “warn” President Barack Obama “to ensure Muslim sovereignty” when he supposedly will enter the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount when he visits.
The White House has not announced his itinerary, but the President will stay clear of the Western Wall, where he prayed during his 2008 presidential campaign, and the mosque, both for security and political reasons.
Arab activists decided to exploit President Obama’s planned visit to Israel to make another claim to sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
Israeli Arab Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, who is from the Galilee city of Umm-el-Fahm and heads the Northern Branch of the radical Islamic Movement, said that Israel has “no sovereignty over Al-Aqsa or Jerusalem.”
He was quoted by the Al Aqsa Foundation as declaring, “The US president is likely to visit the Aqsa Mosque, but we should affirm that our position towards such situation will be in conformity with the constants of the Muslim and Arab nations, and the Palestinian people as well as with the issue of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.”
Sheikh Akrameh Sabri, head of the higher Islamic council and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, said at the press conference, “Any visitor is welcome to Al-Aqsa, but they should follow the regulations of the Waqf and enter through the Lions’ Gate and not through Mughrabi Gate, to ensure Muslim sovereignty.” Non-Muslims enter the mosque through the Mughrabi Gate which is under Israeli supervision, as opposed to the enter from Lion’s Gate.
The Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem minister, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, insisted that said “that Obama should not be accompanied by an Israeli official during his visit to the holy Mosque because it belongs to Muslims and it is their holy site alone,” according to Hamas’ official website.