Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, March 20, 2016.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Reflective of the concern in Jerusalem that the upcoming Peach holiday will see a spike in terrorist incidents that have lately been on the decline, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Thursday for the third time in five days of attempts to heat up the situation on the Temple Mount.
“We need patience,” he said at a pre-holiday toast in Tel Aviv with the Federation of Local Authorities. “We know that there are attempts, even now, to change the downward trend in the number of attacks. There are attempts, even now, to try to renew the agitation and violence, especially around Pesach and the Temple Mount, as we experienced earlier [in October] during the High Holidays.”
Netanyahu said that as Pesach is approaching, extremists are “spreading lies” about the Temple Mount to cause riots.
Netanyahu said that Israel was increasing security forces in areas of friction, and also working against those inciting to violence. In addition, he said, Jerusalem has conveyed messages to Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world that it has no intention of changing the Temple Mount status quo.
Netanyahu called on the local authorities, both Arabs and Jews, to calm down the situation and “not let an extreme minority” change the current downward trend in terror.
“There is no change in our policy regarding the status quo on the Temple Mount,” he said. “Don't believe the lies, even those being spread unfortunately by some Knesset members.”