‘Temple Mount’ organisations and groups have demanded in an official letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu that Al-Aqsa Mosque be closed to Muslims for a week from July 26.
The closure of the mosque compound would include the week of ‘The destruction of the Temple’, a Jewish holiday which comes a week after Eid al-Fatr at the end of Ramadan. Al-Aqsa Foundation said that settlers had demanded Al-Aqsa Mosque be closed to Muslims during this week, and that settlers be permitted to enter, from July 26.
In the letter, the Temple organisations and groups said: “Due to the closure of Temple Mount [the Israeli name for Al-Aqsa Mosque], the Muslims’ prevention of Jewish entry, and their inability to protect the holy site, the citizens of Israel propose that Temple Mount be opened only to Jews during the Jewish holiday and closed to the Muslims
who riot at the Jewish entrance”.
The letter came as a response to the Israeli police’s closure of al-Mughrabi Gate to settlers for the final ten nights of Ramadan, as a large number of Muslim worshipers flood the mosque compound. The police said that they closed the gate to avoid altercations arising as a result of settler incursions.
Temple activists said in their letter to Netanyahu that “Your response to our demand will show that you have fulfilled your pre-election promise in front of everyone to build mechanisms allowing for Jews to pray at the Temple”.
The Temple organisations strengthened their demand using Israeli public opinion, setting up an online poll in which the public could support their campaign to close the mosque compound to Muslims during the Jewish holiday. They called on the active public to stand with them in their campaign.
In the same context, extremist lawyer Tamir Ibn Ghabir sent a letter in protest of the Israeli police’s decision to close the mosque to settlers during the last ten days of Ramadan, calling it ‘racist and religious profiling’.