Israel Police has announced that Knesset members will be allowed to enter the Temple Mount for one day next week as part of a “trial” coordinated with the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The decision was made in light of the improvement in the security situation at the compound,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.
The announcement came hours after MKs Yehudah Glick (Likud) and Shuli Mualem-Refaeli were stopped by police while attempting to enter the Temple Mount compound through the Mughrabi Bridge entrance.
Last Monday, Glick held office hours outside an entrance to the Temple Mount in protest of the ongoing ban against MKs visiting the holy site.
“I’m here to protest the fact that the prime minister won’t enable police to allow us to enter the Temple Mount,” Glick told journalists at the site.
In 2014, a Palestinian terrorist attempted to assassinate Glick, telling him, right before pulling the trigger, that he was “an enemy of al-Aqsa,” the mosque that sits on the site, which is Judaism’s holiest place and Islam’s third-holiest after the Saudi Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina.
Lawmakers have been banned from visiting the Temple Mount since November 2015 as part of an attempt to reduce tensions amid an uptick in Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis that included car-ramming and stabbing attacks.
Following discussions with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, the prime minister decided in early July that the ban on MKs going to the Temple Mount would be lifted for a period of seven days to assess the fallout from the move — though on Wednesday, the trial period seemed to have been reduced to a single day.
That permission comes after Glick filed a petition to the High Court of Justice against the ban.
In responding to Wednesday’s police announcement, Glick indicated his petition would not be withdrawn. “The prime minister must inform the High Court by September 15 why he does not allow lawmakers to ascend the Temple Mount.”
Glick told Israel Radio on Thursday that the decision to open the mount for a single day to all MKs seemed intended to instigate a fight at the holy site, giving the prime minister an excuse to continue the ban. “When MKs Ahmad Tibi and Jamal Zahalke [of the Arab Joint List] walk past [Likud’s] Oren Hazan, they’ll confront each other,” Glick predicted, leading to shouting matches and possible violence at the holy site. Netanyahu could then tell the High Court he “tried and it didn’t work.”
“I do not want to ascend the Temple Mount as a politician promoting an agenda and to participate in unnecessary conflicts. I want to ascend as an individual and commune with the Master of the Universe,” he said.