Rivlin blasts silence of Arab-Israeli leaders over Temple Mount attack
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Rivlin blasts silence of Arab-Israeli leaders over Temple Mount attack

President says shooting crossed a red line, praises Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah for working 'to calm tensions'

President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a ceremony marking Jerusalem Day at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a ceremony marking Jerusalem Day at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday condemned Arab-Israeli leaders for not speaking out against Friday’s terror attack at the Temple Mount, saying their silence was akin to an endorsement of the shooting.

“The silence and the feeble responses from some Arab political leaders are outrageous,” the president said at a ceremony at the National Security College.

“Terrorism must be denounced unconditionally,” he added. “Anyone who doesn’t denounce terrorism is collaborating with it.”

While lambasting Arab-Israeli leaders for not denouncing the attack in which two police officers were killed, Rivlin praised the “responsible” conduct of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah, both of whom condemned the shooting in phone calls with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“[They] fully understood the danger and worked together with us to calm tensions,” he said, according to Channel 2.

The president also said the attack “crossed a red line” and was meant to “drag the whole region into a bloody war.”

While a number of Arab leaders have denounced the attack, much of the criticism from the Muslim world has instead focused on Israel’s decision following the shooting to temporarily close the Temple Mount and impose restrictions on entering the Old City, with the widespread condemnations often making little or no mention of the actual attack.

The closure was the first time Israel had shuttered the compound on a Friday, Islam’s holy day, in nearly 50 years.

Despite Israel’s decision to gradually reopen the Temple Mount on Sunday, dozens of Muslims worshipers refused to enter the site in protest of the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the compound, while sporadic scuffles also broke out between security forces and Muslim protesters who were trying to prevent others from going to the Al-Asqa Mosque.

Nevertheless, several hundred worshipers went through the metal detectors to pray at the site that houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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