Israeli Arab Knesset member Hanin Zoabi says Jews should be banned from the Temple Mount.
The Arab lawmaker, a member of the Joint Arab List, told the Hebrew-language Makor Rishon weekly newspaper in an interview there is no proof Jews have a connection to the site. “The name is al-Aqsa, not the Temple Mount, and there is nothing there for Jews,” Zoabi said in the interview, published Friday.
“It’s a place for Muslims only, according to all the agreements signed after the occupation of Jerusalem, and the agreements between Jordan and Israel. The Israelis understood that they occupied Jerusalem but are not allowed to occupy Al-Aqsa; now they are trying to occupy Al-Aqsa too.”
In response to a query as to whether she accepts the Biblical account that two Jewish holy temples existed on the site, Zoabi brushed the issue aside.
“The temple is not part of the political reality in which we live. This is what was in the past. In the past they also used to call the entire homeland Palestine. Today there is occupation and there is Al-Aqsa, and it’s a place of prayer for Muslims only. Additionally, the existence of the temple is not verified scientifically.”
As for security regulations limiting entry to the grounds to Arabs with Israeli identity cards and over a certain age – since it is usually the younger Muslims who riot at the site – Zoabi denounced the defensive measures.
“As far as we are concerned it’s a declaration of war,” she said, adding that such restrictions by police were “an attempt to change the historical definition of Al-Aqsa, despite the fact that Al-Aqsa was not occupied until now and was made exempt from the 1967 occupation.”
Where in Jerusalem should Jews pray? Zoabi was asked.
Her response: “I don’t know, I am not an historian, but in any case there is no place for Jews at Al-Aqsa.”
Her colleage in the Joint Arab List, MK Jamal Zahalka, yelled a similar contention during his hysterical frenzy while confronting a Jewish group visiting the site and the police escort protecting them last week.
Jews, she said, can “keep on dreaming. They should not act against the Palestinians, they should let Muslims pray in their holy sites and not act as racists and invaders.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pointed out in a comment recently that the status quo in which Israel allows Muslims to “pray in their holy sites” is changed once such “worshipers” instead stockpile rocks, firebombs (Molotov cocktails), pipe bombs, firecrackers and other explosive ammunition within their house of worship to be used as weapons against police and visitors to the grounds around the mosque.
Israeli security personnel entered the mosque after receiving intelligence that such ammunition was being stockpiled in Al Aqsa and did in fact find such caches a number of times in the past several weeks.
Ongoing violence and harassment by Muslim Arabs on site aimed at police and visitors to the Temple Mount grounds has forced the Israeli government to issue security restrictions on which Muslims can enter the area.
The most recent security restriction was implemented Sunday morning (Oct. 4) after two rabbis were murdered and a young mother and her baby were seriously wounded, and a 15-year-old Jewish teen was stabbed just a few hours earlier in deadly terror attacks nearby.