Jerusalem Nit Barkat visited the Temple Mount Tuesday morning one day after Palestinian Authority prime minster Rami Hamdallah did the same.
Barkat previously has stated, “My opinion is that everyone should be able to pray there.”
Hamdallah’s visit was part of a Palestinian Authority campaign to keep the holy site free of Jews. Barkat said his aim was “to learn the challenges police face,” according to his spokesman.
The challenge is violence by Arab every time a Jew tries to visit the Temple Mount, which the Arab world continues to try to convince itself is a target for Israel to dig tunnels and undermine the foundations of the Al Aqsa mosque so that it will collapse.
The Temple Mount and the entire Old City were destined to become red lines for the Palestinian Authority and Israel in the shaggy dog “diplomatic process” that is followed by violence very time the Palestinian Authority does not gain another concession from Israel.
The question is how to handle violence – fight it or simply run away?
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Barkat chided Tel Aviv on Monday for ordering an eighth-grade class to cancel a Bar Mitzvah trip to the Western Wall, beneath the Temple Mount, because it included a visit to areas where there has been “violence.” The city’s spokesman admitted that the “places” consisted only of Ammunition Hill, the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Six-Day War in 1967.
Arab violence is frequent at the light rail route that is near Ammunition Hill but there is no spillover at the site itself, which is as safe as Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv.
Edelstein criticized Tel Aviv’s decision from the podium of the Knesset at the opening session of this winter political circus.
Barkat told the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, Mayor Barkat said, “Cancelling visits to Jerusalem plays into the hands of those causing the disturbances. I urge everyone to visit Jerusalem, to strengthen the city and help return a sense of calm and peace to Jerusalem.
“We must not surrender to terrorism; we must restore law and order in eastern Jerusalem.”
He called for an increased deployment of police forces over a long period of time and across a wide area; development of technological means to deter potential violators, increased enforcement and implementation stricter penalties for lawbreakers.