World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel will not accept Mecca and Medina rules apply on the Temple Mount, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter said on Monday, referring to the two holy cities in Saudi Arabia where entry to non-Muslims is prohibited.
“The idea that what was done in Saudi Arabia – where two cities holy to Islam, Mecca and Medina, are sites where only Muslims have the right to enter – will be done on the Temple Mount is a distorted idea that we will not let happen,” Dichter said. “We will respect the sanctity of al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem, and will stand up for our rights on the Temple Mount.”
Dichter was responding to comments made by Jordan’s Minister of Wakf and Islamic Affairs Wael Arabiyat, and carried by Jordan’s official Petra news agency on Monday, who denounced the “vicious” previous day’s visit by a group of extremist settlers to the holy site and had denounced Israel for allowing Zionist extremists to enter and pray in the compound.
Jordan is the custodian of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and has repeatedly denounced what it says are violations of rules at the site, Islam's third holiest.
Jews, who consider the compound their holiest site and call it the TempleMount, are allowed to visit but not to pray on the esplanade in order to avoid tensions with Muslims who worship there.
On Sunday, about 400 Zionists raided the compound to commemorate the destruction of two ancient temples, but several who tried to pray there were expelled by Israeli police while two were detained.
"Pursuing such measures could spark a religious war in the region," Arabiyat had warned.
Arabiyat also denounced Israeli police for allegedly "arresting and beating" Muslim worshippers at the site.
Israeli police on Sunday said Muslims had gathered around two Jews who were being expelled from the compound and began yelling at them.
Police pushed them away and three Muslims were lightly injured in the scuffle.
Jordan's King Abdullah II also denounced "repeated violations and transgressions by Israel and extremist groups and their blatant attempts to change the status quo in Jerusalem," in an interview published Monday by the semi-official Addustour newspaper.
"We will persist in undertaking our religious and historical responsibilities towards Al-Aqsa mosque.... which faces repeated violations by extremist groups," he said.
"As the Custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, I will continue my efforts to protect these places and stand up against all violations of their sanctity," he said.
Jews on Sunday were commemorating the religious day of mourning known as Tisha B'av.
Palestinian fears of Israeli intentions to undermine Muslim control of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound were a key factor in a wave of violence that erupted 10 months ago.
Palestinians argue that Israel is seeking to change the status quo at the compound, a claim that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed the territory in a move never recognised by the international community.
Last Mod: 17 Ağustos 2016, 23:24