(JNS.org) Israeli-Arab Member of Knesset Jamal Zahalka called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount holy site “in any way possible,” just a day after the Joint Arab List party lawmaker returned from a two-month suspension from the Knesset.
"In light of the daily increase of [Jewish] ascent to the [Al] Aqsa mosque, it is up to us to stop it in any way possible," he told the Palestinian website Dunya al-Watan on Wednesday.
"Our people have the right to the mosque, and we must protect it with all of our power. The Palestinian nation is the guardian of the mosque....The increase in Jews who go up will cause the third intifada to break out and continue throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem depending on which Palestinian organizations join in the fighting,” said Zahalka, adding that "Israel continues its 100-year-old colonial Zionist project,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
Although Israel gained eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War, the Temple Mount is being administered by the Islamic Waqf, a Muslim trust overseen by Jordan that limits non-Muslim visitation and bans Jewish prayer. Israel, however, provides security at the site. An increase in Jewish visitation has been led by activist groups calling for greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount. Israel blames Palestinian incitement relating to the Temple Mount for the Palestinian terror wave against Jewish Israelis that began last fall.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute, a group that supports Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount, said that an unidentified Jewish couple was able to be married on the Temple Mount for the first time in 2,000 years.
“Two appointed witnesses met the couple at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The witnesses were duly obligated to hear the declaration of marriage from the lips of the groom and see him place the gold wedding band on the bride’s finger,” though the vows had to be exchanged quietly “without drawing the attention of the Israel Police or the Muslim Waqf guards who would be accompanying the group of Jewish worshippers,” the Temple Institute said in a statement.