Police sends mixed messages on Knesset members' return to the Temple Mount

The final decision on the matter would not be made by the police, in any case; rather, it would be made by the prime minister.

October 25, 2016 20:44
2 minute read.
Temple Mount

The Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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No decision has been made about allowing lawmakers back on the Temple Mount, a police spokesman said on Tuesday following reports of a recommendation that the ban, in place since November 2015, be reversed.

“The issue has come up several times and is being discussed on a number of levels,” Israel Police Foreign Press spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. “As of now, no new decision has been made in connection with the status of MKs visiting the Temple Mount.”

However, according to an unnamed source, Central District Commander Asst.-Ch. Motti Cohen recently said that if Succot was peaceful on the Temple Mount, then he would recommend allowing MKs to visit the site.

The holiday passed with no incidents.

In any case, the final decision on the matter would not be made by the police, but by the prime minister. The Knesset Ethics Committee could also decide to continue sanctions against lawmakers who visit the holy site, as it did in June.

Rosenfeld would not answer questions regarding whether a recommendation had been made on the matter.

According to a Channel 2 report, the police recommended that MKs be permitted to go to the site if they tell the police in advance and coordinate the visit, which would be conducted without a media presence and bodyguards.

They would not be allowed to give speeches on the Mount.

MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), who was a prominent activist for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount before becoming an MK, said that a recommendation to allow lawmakers to visit the site was the right thing to do after a year-long ban and a relatively quiet period there, and he called on the prime minister and Knesset speaker to adopt it.

“I call on MKs who will ascend the Mount to make sure to follow police instructions and behave responsibly, and thus contribute to turning the place into a world center for peace, and not take advantage of the ascension,” he said.

In just under a year since the ban was enacted, it has been broken several times by lawmakers from the Joint List.

MK Ahmed Tibi, the head of the Joint List’s Jerusalem Committee, said: “We do not agree to have the prime minister and police commissioner be the ones to decide whether we, as Muslims, can enter a mosque or not.

“We do not accept the outrageous equivalency made between extremist Jewish MKs, who come to incite, and Muslim MKs, whose presence in the mosque is natural,” he added.

Jewish Israeli visitors, including MKs, are not allowed in the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

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