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Protest at Temple Mount, Tuesday morning Photo: Reuters
Protest at Temple Mount, Tuesday morning Photo: Reuters
 
 

Knesset holds volatile discussion on Temple Mount sovereignty

Arab MKs ban Israeli parliament's debate on transferring sovereignty of Al-Aqsa Mosque de facto to Jordan

Moran Azulay
Published: 02.25.14, 20:00 / Israel News

As requested by Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin, the Knesset is holding a debate on the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf's sovereignty in the Temple Mount and the limitations imposed on non-Muslims who seek to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

 

 

During the debate, Likud MKs called on the State "to open up the Temple Mount compound and allow Jews to pray there."

 

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The discussion sparked great turmoil within the Knesset halls, and more than 30 MKs requested to address the plenum, despite the fact that the debate has only declarative purposes. The Arab MKs are boycotting the debate.

 

On Monday, long discussions were held by the coalition in order to draft an outline for the sensitive issue, eventually agreeing on "the transfer of sovereignty on the Temple Mount de facto to Jordanian sovereignty."

 

In order to exert pressure and bring the subject up to public discourse more than 100 Center Likud movement members signed a letter addressed to MKs in which they call upon them to take part in the deliberation on the subject.

 

MK Ahmad Tibi explained that the Arab MKs decided to ban the "pyromaniac meeting on the sovereignty of Al-Aqsa."

 

In his address to the Knesset, MK Feiglin said: "Astonishingly, this is the first time that the Israeli parliament discusses the issue of Temple Mount sovereignty. Every terror organization can swing its flag there. But the Israeli flag? Unmentionable!

 

"I call on the government to apply the full sovereignty of the State of Israel in the entire Temple Mount. I call on the Israeli government to allow free access to any Jew to the Temple Mount through any gate, and allow them to pray," Feiglin added.

 

Meretz Chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On stressed that she too is certain that Jews have the right to enter and pray at the Temple Mount; however the matter should be in agreement.

 

According to Gal-On, MK Feiglin's initiative is "the match that may ignite the gunpowder on which the entire Middle East rests in order to harm the peace talks with the Palestinians." During her speech, Gal-On confronted with MKs Limor Livnat and Miri Regev.

 

Earlier Tuesday, about 20 masked Palestinians threw stones and firecrackers at Israeli security forces from atop the Temple Mount.

 

A police force entered the area to disperse the rioters using crowd dispersal means, including stun grenades. Three rioters were arrested on suspicion they threw rocks and firecrackers at security forces.

 

The Arab world reacts

Against the backdrop of the Knesset debate, Jordan informed Israel that attacking places which are holy to the Islam will ignite a diplomatic conflict between the countries, a Jordanian diplomat told the Turkish news agency Anatolia.

 

Later Tuesday, Hezbollah-affiliated media released a statement praising the Palestinian people for their struggle against Israel in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and called for a wide solidarity campaign in order to stress the importance of Palestine and Jerusalem to the Arab people.

 

"The increasing Zionist attacks against the Al-Aqsa Mosque are part of a project to destroy and make Jerusalem solely Jewish.

 

"The enemy is exploiting the current political conditions in order to terrorize the Palestinian territories and people," the statement read.

 

Roi Kais contributed to this report.

 

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