Riots on Temple Mount
Riots on Temple MountIsrael Police spokesperson

The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday criticized Israeli police officers for storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque but, in a rare condemnation, also criticized the worshipers who barricaded themselves inside the mosque, necessitating the entry of the police officers.

In a statement, the UAE’s Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli police, which resulted in the assault of worshipers and multiple arrests.”

The ministry “reiterated its firm position on the need to provide full protection for Al-Aqsa Mosque and halt serious and provocative violations taking place there, and emphasized that worshipers should not barricade themselves inside the mosque and places of worship with weapons and explosives.”

“Moreover, the UAE called on Israeli authorities to halt escalation and avoid exacerbating tension and instability in the region affirming the UAE's rejection of all practices that violate resolutions on international legitimacy and threaten to further exacerbate escalation,” the statement continued.

The UAE also “stressed the need to support all regional and international efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East, end illegal practices that threaten the two-state solution, and establish an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the statement concluded.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the riots, noting that the rioters' actions harmed Muslims who merely came to Mosque for Ramadan prayers and not to confront Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount.

"Muslim worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque are asserting that the Islamic extremists who barricaded themselves inside the mosque locked them in and prevented other Muslims from going to the Mosque to pray. They barricaded themselves with weaponry, rocks and fireworks," said Netanyahu.

"After the authorities' attempts at dialogue failed, and the extremists were refusing to allow Muslim worshippers to enter the mosque, and even threatened the holding of afternoon prayers today, the security forces were compelled to act in order to restore order."

"Israel is committed to maintaining freedom of worship, free access for all faiths and the status quo on the Temple Mount, and will not allow violent extremists to change this," the Prime Minister concluded.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Passover in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)