Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev strongly condemned statements made by Arab Mks Ahmed Tibi and Taleb El-Sana in Doha on Sunday.
The two lawmakers, both of whom draw salaries supported by Israeli taxpayers, are listed as representatives of “Palestine” at the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem in Qatar.
Both Israeli Arab MKs made statements to the Qatari media claiming that Israel is an “occupying power” in the holy city. El-Sana warned that Israel is threatening the existence of the al-Aqsa mosque, located in Jerusalem's Old City.
“Anyone who states there is a threat to the al-Aqsa mosque is deliberately spreading a dangerous libel,” Regev stated bluntly in a conversation with Arutz Sheva on Sunday night.
The spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Regev then went even further. “This behavior is both dishonest and irresponsible, and should be condemned,” he said flatly.
However, Regev sidestepped the question on the legality of the two Israeli lawmakers' presence in an enemy nation, in a forum that aligns itself against the State of Israel, listed as official representatives of a hostile entity.
“They are both Knesset members,” he pointed out. “Ask the Speaker of the Knesset. That is the correct address for that question.”
Several efforts to reach spokespersons for Speaker Reuven Rivlin immediately following the conversation with Regev, however, met with failure. A female aide who was reached, after hearing the question, informed Arutz Sheva that “at this hour, the office is closed.”
The conference, jointly organized by Qatar and the Arab League, is aimed at reinforcing Jerusalem as the capital of a hoped-for independent Arab nation, to be created from the Palestinian Authority.