Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) defended Israeli police for their recent actions to break up riots on the Temple Mount, and to remove rioters from the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Speaking with foreign journalists at the Foreign Ministry’s central offices in Jerusalem Sunday afternoon, Lapid said the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations were to blame for the recent clashes on the Temple Mount and around the Old City of Jerusalem.

“In the past three weeks, there has been a dangerous effort underway in Jerusalem,” Lapid said. “During Ramadan, terrorist organizations have been trying to hijack the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to create an outbreak of violence in Jerusalem, and from there, a violent conflict across the country.”

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad extremists, burst into Al-Aqsa Mosque in the early mornings, again and again. They brought weapons into the Mosque. They threw rocks and explosives from within it, and used it as a base to incite violent riots.”

“I’m not a Muslim, but I know enough about Islam to tell you: This is not how you act in a holy place. They’ve done this to create a provocation, to force the Israeli police to enter the Mosque and remove them. They’ve sacrificed their own religion, for a viral video.”

“The only reason the police have twice entered the Mosque, in recent weeks, to remove them is because at the same time, tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers began arriving at the Temple Mount. It is not Israel that endangered worshippers - It is the terrorist organizations who endangered them.”

“If we had not removed these rioters, there would have been a disaster.”

“Alongside this violence, we have had to deal with an unbelievable amount of fake news and altered videos which have gone viral.”

Lapid also denied claims that Israel is working to partition the Temple Mount along religious lines.

“I want to clarify: Israel is committed to the Status Quo on the Temple Mount.

Muslims pray on the Temple Mount, non-Muslims visit. There is no change. There will be no change. We have no plans to divide the Temple Mount between religions.”