Arab MKs to Visit Temple Mount to Protest Jews

MKs from the Joint List to make mass visit in solidarity with violent Arab rioters at Judaism's holiest site.

Tova Dvorin ,

Ayman Odeh
Ayman Odeh
Basel Awidat/Flash 90

MKs from the Joint Arab List intend to ascend the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, on Tuesday, in protest to Jews and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) visiting the Mount on Sunday, during the annual Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av mourning the Temples' destruction. 

The Arab MKs claimed they were protesting "police brutality" at the Mount, after a gang of violent Arab rioters attacked police. 

"The visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque is the result of force used by the police at the entrance to the mosque, firing tear gas and making arrests at the site," Joint List chairman MK Aymen Odeh stated Monday. "We think that the visit of Minister Uri Ariel is a provocative visit aimed at changing the status quo."

"The very fact that he visits again and again, even though we know that the visits are explosive, shows that any visit is just a provocation," he continued. "With the arrival of list members, we express our position that this was a violation of the status quo, reinforcing the occupation and denial of Arab sovereignty anchored in place." 

MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) added that Ariel's visit is a "red line." 

"We will not sit quietly and gave full support to the worshipers who are there and need to be protected from the violations of the ministers and the extreme right," he added. "For us it's not just a matter of freedom of religion and respect for holy places, there is no doubt - the mosque compound belongs to the Muslim worshipers." 

Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, Jews - and other non-Muslims - are forbidden to perform any acts of worship on the Temple Mount, including uttering prayers, due to Muslim threats of violence. Visibly-religious Jews are scrutinized carefully by police and arrested if suspected of praying.

The Temple Mount is the location of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, the latter of which was destroyed in 70 CE. 

It is also the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which is built atop the ancient Jewish ruins.

In recent years Muslim groups have sought to deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount altogether, claiming it as an Islamic holy site and seeking to prevent growing numbers of Jews from visiting it via organized harassment campaigns and outbursts of violence.