Hundreds of East Jerusalem residents participated on Saturday in a march towards the al-Aqsa Mosque in the Temple Mount compound. The march was organized to mark Mawlid an-Nabī - the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.
Among the participants were Knesset member Dr. Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) and other Arab leaders, who called for an "end the occupation". MK Tibi waved the Palestinian flag near the flashpoint site, which has been scene to violent clashes in recent months.
He said "the procession sends a message of liberty and peace and a desire to shake free the burden of the occupation in order to gain a normal and free life. The procession ended at al-Aqsa Mosque, the crown jewel of Jerusalem, which will be the capital of Palestine."
The marchers chanted Tibi's name and some ran to kiss him and be photographed together. "Tibi, you are the hero of Palestine," many shouted. "You are the strongest man who can protect our rights."
MK Tibi could lead a united Arab party in the upcoming elections, and polls have named him the most popular Arab Israeli leader in the country.
Sameer Mahmoud, a resident of east Jerusalem, added: "We marched today for the Prophet Mohammed. This is an important day for all Muslims in the world. Unfortunately, there are different organizations in the world who try to damage the Prophet's character.
"We will not stay silent about these deeds and are ready to sacrifice our lives for the sake of our Prophet."