Arab MK promises Hamas he will defy Netanyahu

In interview with Hamas, Abu Arar says members of his party will breach MK ban on Temple Mount entry - even as he calls to ban Jews.

Dalit Halevi ,

Taleb Abu Arar
Taleb Abu Arar
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Arab MK Taleb Abu Arar (Joint List) on Friday declared in an interview with the Hamas paper Palestine that his party's Arab MKs will defy Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's order not to visit the Temple Mount.

Last October, Netanyahu instructed Jerusalem police not to allow any ministers or MKs, either Jewish or Arab, to visit the Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism. Arab MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount later that month in an open challenge.

The Arab MKs vowed to breach the conditions again in a letter this Wednesday, saying they intend to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan next month. In response, Knesset Guard Sergeant-at-Arms Brig. Gen. Yossi Grif on Thursday warned the Arab MKs not to visit the site.

Speaking to Palestine, Abu Arar said, "this decision (banning entry to the Temple Mount) harms freedom of religion, and it was made in the framework of the political persecution of the Arab Palestinian citizen and those who represent them. ...There is no right to prevent a Muslim of any sort, whether they are a regular citizen or a parliament member, from their religious rights at Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Abu Arar's claims of "political persecution" belie the fact that the decision was made to tone down the Arab terror incitement around the Temple Mount.

Exposing his own hypocrisy regarding "freedom of religion," Abu Arar then went on to tell the Hamas paper that Jewish MKs should be banned from the Mount.

He claimed that visits to the site by Jewish MKs would inflame the region, and that not allowing the Muslim MKs to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque would also inflame the region, issuing a threat while calling to forbid Jews and allow Muslims.

Abu Arar ironically accused the government of inventing pretexts and making "racist decisions" in order to distance Arab MKs from the Muslim public and sites that are holy to Islam.

The MK is not the first of his party to hypocritically complain of a lack of access for Muslims while repeatedly calling to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount, where the Jordanian Waqf maintains de facto control and imposes a discriminatory ban on Jewish prayer.

The MK's colleague Jamal Zahalka last month called to prevent Jews "at all costs" and "by any means" from visiting the Mount.

In September, Zahalka was filmed as he personally harassed police over allowing Jewish visitors to visit the Temple Mount, and a previous clip sent to Arutz Sheva showed fellow MK Ahmed Tibi actually striking a police officer on the Mount as Zahalka "ordered" police to leave the site.