The chairman of the Arab-majority Joint List, Ayman Odeh, has named his key demands for supporting a Blue and White-led minority government.
In a Facebook broadcast, Odeh demanded Blue and White faction chairman Benny Gantz stop Jews from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and cancel all unilateral steps in the adoption of US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” Middle East Peace Plan.
“We have a position on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the cessation of extremist settlers entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Odeeh said.
“This has happened during [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s time and we want to restore the status quo. Al-Aqsa is a place of worship for Muslims, and East Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinian state. We will focus on the Al-Aqsa Mosque at this stage.”
Jews are currently banned from any form of prayer on the Temple Mount — one of the holiest sites in the Jewish faith — and any attempt to do so by a Jew is promptly thwarted by the Islamic Waqf Authority that controls the Temple Mount, and Israel Police. Such an attempt can also end with the arrest of the Jewish worshiper.
Similarly, Jewish presence at the holy site is heavily restricted to just a few hours a day.
In January, Israeli activists advocating freedom of Jewish worship and prayer on the Temple Mount welcomed President Donald Trump’s unveiling of the Deal of the Century, lauding it as “a major step toward fulfilling the Jewish destiny at the site of the Temple.”
The plan, titled “Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and a Brighter Future,” calls for Jerusalem’s holy sites to “remain open and available for peaceful worshipers and tourists of all faiths.
“People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors,” the plan states.
Meanwhile, Blue and White’s ‘number two,’ Knesset Member (MK) Yair Lapid, has stated that cooperation with the Joint List would only incorporate the Joint List voting for a Blue and White-led minority government, after which all coalition cooperation between the two would cease.
Lapid was responding to Blue and White MKs Tzvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel who had threatened to oppose their party in the Knesset if they cooperated with the Arab Joint List.