Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS
Female Border Police Officer guards the Temple Mount entrance.

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

The only way to restore calm at the Temple Mount compound is for Israel to withdraw unilaterally and completely from the Temple Mount site, Arab MKs warned on Sunday.

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Notably, the Joint (Arab) List party refused to address the murder of two Israeli policemen by a group of three Israeli Arabs on July 14, as well as the slaughter of three members of the Solomon family on July 21 as the family was celebrating Shabbat dinner in the community of Neve Tzuf.

MK Taleb Abu-Arar (Joint List) said a suggestion by Jerusalem police to replace metal detectors at entrances to the holy site with closed-circuit security cameras would do nothing to ramp down tensions in the capital.

“The only acceptable solution (to the Temple Mount crisis) is the end of the occupation overall, and particularly at al-Aqsa Mosque, which spreads over 144 dunams and is a holy space for Muslims only,” Abu-Arar said. “The only body that should be administering (Al-Aqsa) is the Waqf, not Israel. According to the agreement with Jordan, Israel is required to maintain the status quo at al-Aqsa, and so the Waqf is against any change like the placement of metal detectors or cameras, or anything else. We share this view.”

Abu-Arar blamed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for using Arab feelings about al-Aqsa Mosque as a diversion to his political troubles.

“Netanyahu and his government are endangering the entire area, despite the fact that he knows how explosive and sensitive it is, in order to survive (politically) amidst all the (allegations of) corruption and the police investigations. [Netanyahu is] try to beat [Education Minister and Jewish Home Party chairman Naftali] Bennett, who is challenging him [for right-wing votes].

“There is no way to restore the calm that we all want other than to remove any and all measures that Israel undertakes at al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abu-Arar said in a statement.

Other Arab MKs underlined the point as well. MK Ahmad Tibi stressed that “the issue isn’t security measures at al-Aqsa, it is the Occupation. That’s it. If the Occupation were to put roses for us inside al-Aqsa, we would resist that too, because it came from the Occupation.

“This is a change in status quo which we totally reject,” Tibi said.

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