(JNi.media) Arab MK Ahmed Tibi said on Thursday that he and other Arab MKs would come tomorrow, Friday, to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque on Temple Mount, despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to forbid it. “Not Netanyahu, and not the right-wing can keep us out of our Al-Aksa mosque,” Tibi said. He acknowledged that the Prime Minister decided to prevent “provocateurs” like Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) and Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) from entering the Temple Mount, in an effort to maintain calm, but insisted that Netanyahu’s decision to prevent Arab Knesset members constitutes a “U-turn” that would likely escalate the situation. Tibi said that Netanyahu’s decision is both insane and illegal, and commented that the comparison between the Muslim Arab MKs and Ariely and Hotoveli is like comparing a home owner and a burglar.
Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed his government ministers and all coalition MKs to not go up to the Temple Mount in the near future, to prevent friction and confrontation with the Arabs. The Prime Minister’s office made it clear that Netanyahu has instructed police is to prevent Knesset members, including the Arab MKs, from ascending to the Al-Aqsa compound. The PM’s office told Israel Radio that in recent days Netanyahu also prevented Palestinian public figures from visiting the Temple Mount.
MK Tibi’s party chairman, MK Aimen Uda, said that “Netanyahu is beating around the bush, positionless and spineless. The Al-Aqsa compound is an occupied territory, which, according to the status quo, is under the management of the King of Jordan and the Muslim Waqf. Netanyahu has no legal or moral authority tr prevent Arab MKs from ascending to the mosque.”
Arab MK Jamal Zahalka, who on Thursday attempted to defy Netanyahu’s order and was blocked at the entrance to Temple Mount by police, told NRG: “We [spit on] the Prime Minister’s decisions, they are illegal according to international law and I do not recognize them.” Zahalka added that “Netanyahu has done well in preventing the ascent of extreme right MKs and ministers, because all they want is to cause provocation. In contrast with them, who come as occupiers, we go to the mosque because we belong to the place, because we want to keep its peace and protect it. Our right to ascend to the Temple Mount supercedes any prohibition imposed by Netanyahu.”