THE TEMPLE MOUNT in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday strongly condemned visits by Jews to the Temple Mount and accused the Israeli government of targeting Islamic religious sites in Jerusalem.
The PA also held the US administration and the Israeli government responsible for what it described as "assaults" on Islamic and Christian holy sites, and called on Arabs and Muslims to take action to stop Jews from "storming" the Temple Mount.
The strongly-worded statement comes after member of Knesset and Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel ascended the Temple Mount
earlier in the day.
His visit to the Temple Mount came after the three-year ban on Members of Knesset visiting the holy site was revoked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ariel is a member of the the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, and in a Sunday morning interview with Kan radio, Ariel mentioned that he did not agree with party leader Naftali Bennett's stance on Members of Knesset not visiting the controversial holy site.
The new policy, revised by Netanyahu, allows members of Knesset to visit the Temple Mount once ever three months and reverses previous legislation which forbade MK's from visitations for security reasons.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein distributed to Knesset members new instructions on Thursday for going up on the Temple Mount. Edelstein’s instructions followed a decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to let MKs visit the controversial holy site once every three months after not permitting them to go there for the past two years.
In addition, Member of Knesset Sharren Haskel from the Likud party ascended the Temple Mount. The last time she visited the Temple Mount was three weeks before she was sworn into the Knesset.
“I am a big supporter of allowing visits to the Temple Mount, and I think MKs have a right to visit holy sites, just like other citizens,” he said.
Edelstein urged all the MKs from all factions to show respect for the site and to the Knesset and “avoid unnecessary provocations.”
Likud MK Yehuda Glick requested to enter the holy site in a letter he wrote to Netanyahu. Glick wrote that the National Security Council had recommended that no MKs go up to the Temple Mount until after Ramadan, but that Arab MKs had entered the site during the Muslim holy month that ended three weeks ago.
Glick said he wanted to go up to the Mount during the three weeks of mourning on the Jewish calendar ahead of the observance of Tisha Be’av, the date on which the two Jewish holy temples built there were destroyed.