Israeli Arab lawmakers from the Joint Arab List (from L to R) Osama Saadi, Ahmed Tibi, Ayman Odeh, Masud Ganaim and Haneen Zoabi stand in front of the Dome of the Rock during a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City July 28, 2015. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Knesset Ethics Committee censured Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi Tuesday for visiting the Temple Mount when lawmakers were prohibited from doing so. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan complained to the panel in August, after Tibi was caught at the holy site on police cameras.
The visit, Erdan wrote, “did not happen during a calm and serene time and was not made privately and discretely, rather in an overt and demonstrative way, as a clear provocation in a sensitive and stormy time, after the Mount was closed following the horrible terrorist attack that took place there.” He was referring to an attack in which Israeli Arabs killed three police officers.
Erdan said he has no doubt Tibi’s visit “endangered the public welfare and security, and could have incited others to commit violent acts.”
MKs have not been allowed to ascend the Temple Mount since October 2015, on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s orders, for security reasons.
The Ethics Committee upheld the premier’s decision, and later allowed legislators to visit the holy site, as long as they coordinate their actions with the police.
In response to the complaint, Tibi said that the prohibition to enter Al-Aksa mosque is “illegal in connection to Arab and Muslim MKs, because it harms my constitutional right as a Muslim to freedom of worship.”
The Joint List MK also said that any act to stop a lawmaker from visiting the mosque must be based on concrete evidence that doing so would be harmful to the public and to national security.
In addition, Tibi denied Erdan’s claim that he intended to incite, saying the minister has no proof.