AN ARAB MK has vowed to defy last night’s ban on government officials entering Al-Aqsa mosque, when Netanyahu announced that the ban will include the Palestinian MKs too.
MK Ahmad Tibi has refused to obey Benjamin Netanyahu’s orders to stay away from the holy site, saying he will go there to pray tomorrow (Friday 9th October).
The Israeli Prime Minister had told police to stop all Israeli ministers and Knesset members from entering the area around the mosque, in Jerusalem’s old city.
The move, made on the advice of Israeli Occupation Forces, was reportedly part of a bid to reduce a wave of politically-motivated violence at the holy site, which settlers claim sits upon the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism.
But MK Ahmad Tibi said in a statement this morning (Thursday): “Tomorrow, we will pray in Al-Aqsa, because it is our mosque.”
Ahmad Tibi is a politician and leader of the Arab Movement for Change, an Arab party in Israel.
Confusion and anger has surrounded the ban, with right-wing ministers claiming they were only told about it through the media and that it applied only to Jews.
But this morning (Thursday) a spokesman issued a clarification, saying it “applies to Jews and Arabs alike”.
The new rule was announced late last night (Wednesday) after the National Security Council advised such visits were a “powder keg” and a “dangerous provocation”.
Tensions at the site have reached boiling point in recent weeks. Four civilians have been killed in the area since last week, and a 18-year old female university student remains critically injured in hospital with gunshot wounds following an alleged assault on a 36-year old man.