PM to Arabs: Don't believe lies about Temple Mount dig
In attempt to defuse tension in east Jerusalem, Netanyahu calls on Arab sector not to believe extremists' claims that Israel planning to conduct excavations under Muslim holy site. 'You are a part of the State of Israel,' he says. MK Erdan: Abbas not a partner
"There is an extreme minority that has spread lies according to which Israel is planning to conduct excavations beneath the Temple Mount," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said regarding the recent unrest in east Jerusalem.
"I want to make it clear that these are lies, and I call on the majority of Arabs in Israel not to believe these lies," said the PM at the onset of Monday's cabinet meeting, "The vast majority of Israel's Arabs are not being dragged in by these provocations.
"I want to tell the Arab citizens of Israel – those who want to lead normal lives – that you are a part of the State of Israel. The government is working to make certain that you (Arab sector) enjoy full equality in every field, be it education, economy, employment or infrastructure," he said.
Islamic Movement spokesman Attorney Zahi Nujidat said in response to Netanyahu's statements denying that Israel is digging beneath the Temple Mount: "Netanyahu's statements amuse us. We are the ones saying - don't believe Bibi's lies."
Some 100 people were arrested during the riots in the capital, which erupted amid rumors that a group of Jewish extremists was planning to enter the Temple Mount compound, which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque.
On Sunday morning police decided to open the Temple Mount to all visitors. According to a police official, "Since the morning hours visitors have been entering the Temple Mount, including Muslim worshippers of all ages, and there have been no unusual incidents."
During the cabinet meeting Knesset Member Gilad Erdan (Likud) responded to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas call to put the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza up for a vote in the UN Human Rights Council session "in order to prosecute those who perpetrated crimes against our children and our women."
"This man (Abbas) is fanning the flames of hatred. We cannot achieve a peace agreement with him; we have no partner on the other side," said Erdan.
"(Abbas') remarks are delusional, anti-Semitic and extreme. He has no right to preach to Israel after his people set fire to Jewish holy sites following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza (in 2005)."