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PA Foreign Ministry condemns Israeli minister's call to allow Jews to pray on the "alleged" Temple Mount; warns of “Israeli plans" to destroy Al-Aqsa

Headline: "[PA Ministry of] Foreign Affairs: Erdan must be tried for his crimes and plot against the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque"

"[PA] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned in the harshest terms the statements of the occupation government’s [Israeli] Minister of 'Public Security' Gilad Erdan, who called to change the 'status quo' at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque (see note below –Ed.).

The ministry pointed out in its statement today, Tuesday [Aug. 13, 2019] that Erdan has adopted the calls and demands of the alleged 'Temple' organizations to turn the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its plazas into [a place with which] they can do as they please from all of the gates and at all times under the pretext of 'holding their religious ceremonies and prayer there.'

The ministry condemned the logic of bullying and the law of the jungle expressed by Erdan when he acknowledged his responsibility for the use of force on the first day of the [Eid Al-Adha] holiday (i.e., the Sacrifice Feast) against the Muslim worshippers and their removal by force (Israel responded to Muslim riots to bar Jews from entering the Temple Mount on Tisha B'Av, which fell on the same day; see note below –Ed.) in order to allow the Jewish settlers and extremists to break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque…

The ministry has warned for a long time about the fact of the Israeli plans against the Al-Aqsa Mosque… which is threatened with destruction or physical division in the same way it has already actually been divided by time (see note below –Ed.) – and the Muslims will be prevented from entering it or even praying at it."

The mention of Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan’s statements refer to comments he made in an interview with Radio 90FM on Aug. 13, 2019, in which he said: “I think that there is an injustice in the status quo that has existed [on the Temple Mount] since 1967, and that it is necessary to work to change it so that Jews in the future will be able God willing to also pray on the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site for the Jewish people and the third most significant site in Islam.”

 

Temple organizations” refer to religious Jewish movements including the Temple Mount Institute, the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, the Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount, and Students for the Temple Mount, which spread awareness of the importance of the Temple Mount in Judaism and encourage people to visit the site.

 

Tisha B'Av 2019 – Muslims rioted on the Temple Mount on Aug. 11, 2019, for the express purpose of preventing Jews from going up to the site on Tisha B'Av (see note below), and were explicitly incited to do so by PA leaders such as PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who two days prior posted a call on his Facebook page for Muslims in Jerusalem to postpone their holiday observance to the second day of the holiday so that "people will be available to carry out Ribat at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to resist the Israeli plan to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the first day of the holiday (i.e. Tisha B' Av)," adding "Our mosque is our Ribat and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is our Jihad."

 

Tisha B'Av - Jewish day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem (586 BCE and 70 CE) and the forced exile of most of the Jewish people from the land of Israel.

 

Break-in/Invasion/attack of Al-Aqsa Mosque - The PA and its leaders misrepresent all of the Temple Mount as an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, they vilify any presence of Jews on the mount as an "invasion." It should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount only enter some sections of the open areas, and do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Israeli police ban Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount because of threats of violence by Palestinians.

 

Division according to areas and times” refers to a submission of a “private bill” by Israeli MP Uri Ariel in March 2003. The bill suggested ensuring freedom of religious worship by allowing both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount - what the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza. The bill sought to designate separate prayer times and areas of the site for Muslims and Jews. The bill never progressed past the initial legislatory stage. While there was additional discussion on the subject in 2012, no legislation was ever passed. In response to the incessant PA claims that the “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount is an operative Israeli plan, former Israeli PM Netanyahu stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the so-called status quo on the Temple Mount, which de facto is interpreted to mean Jews are only allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but not to conduct individual or communal prayers there. In July 2021, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett said Muslims and Jews have freedom of worship at the Temple Mount, which was understood by many as a hint to changing the status quo at the site, but the following day his office backtracked and said he misspoke and did not mean Jews would have freedom of worship, but rather would have freedom to visit. “There is no change in the status quo,” a statement from PM Bennett’s office confirmed.y type of worship.