Gaza's militant Hamas rulers are calling on Palestinians to attack Israeli forces in Jerusalem after the Temple Mount was closed until Sunday, this following a deadly terrorist assault there. Hamas has already staged a rally celebrating the attack.
Hamas described the closure of the site—known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount—in a statement Saturday as a "religious war" and Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on the Palestinian "uprising" to target the Israeli army and West Bank settlers.
Israel made the rare move after three Palestinian assailants opened fire there Friday, killing two Israeli police officers before being shot dead. The attackers were devout Muslim Israeli citizens.
Monitoring Committee of Arab citizens in Israel Head Muhammad Barakeh condemned the attack, saying that it did not contribute to the Arab public's struggle to defend its rights and holy places. The committee also warned against the implications of the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the decision not to allow prayer at the site until Sunday.
"Since 1969, we have been participating in a public struggle that has proven its success over the years," he said. "The deviation from our path, as we saw yesterday in Jerusalem, will not help anything, and we warn the government against exploiting the shooting with the aim of inciting against the Arab public."
Arab MK Issawi Freij (Meretz) strongly renounced the deadly attack. "Israeli civilians killed Israeli policemen at the entrance to a holy site. There is no way to describe the horror, or even to try to understand it," he said. "We must shake off people who have left our midst. The dimensions of the hatred blinded them until they chose to kill their countrymen."
MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) said in response to the events, "We place the full responsibility of everything that is happening on Israel's occupation policy, aggression and murder of the Palestinian people. It is impossible to sever what is happening from Israel's policy. The settlers' takeover of Al-Aqsa has lead to deeper feelings of humiliation and injustice, and anyone who does not want to recognize the connection and insists on linking the responses to incitement and extremists is the one who decides to sacrifice the citizens.
"The Israeli establishment knows that we support a political struggle, it knows that we are fighting for an end to the occupation and the policy of Judaization and political purge, and that we even call for the confiscation of weapons, that the police themselves know where they are and who holds them, though it refuses to confiscate it, as long as it harms us and not the Jews, She added. "All the scare and intimidation tactics are doomed to fail."
The reactions of MKs Ahmad Tibi and Osama Sa'adi (Joint List) jointly warned against exploiting the events for incitement, and they also urged the government to allow prayer on the Temple Mount. "The position of the Arab leadership has always been that the use of weapons is not the instrument of struggle of the Arab citizens of Israel," they said. "Our struggle is political and public, nonviolent and unarmed. We reject violence of any kind, including in holy places, and we regret the loss of human life. Our opinion is that the bloodshed must be stopped, so that families and parents will not kill their sons and loved ones.
"It is indeed time to emphasize that the continuation of the occupation, including the occupation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites, is the root of all evil, and that the occupation should be ended to save lives on all sides. The right wing is exploiting what happened due a campaign of incitement against the Arab public in general and Umm al-Fahm in particular, despite the Arab public's position published by the Monitoring Committee."