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Arab MK pans PM after being blocked from Temple Mount

Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka has been stopped from going up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended a ban on lawmakers from visiting the site to Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

Zahalka, a frequent and vocal critic of Israeli policies, says in a statement that he “thumbs his nose” at Netanyahu over the move, which the prime minister said was intended to cool tensions after days of unrest surrounding anger over Israeli actions on the Holy Site, revered by Muslims and Jews.

MK Jamal Zahalka (center) on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday, September 29 2015 (courtesy Joint List)
MK Jamal Zahalka (center) on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday, September 29 2015 (courtesy Joint List)

Zahalka says that while Netanyahu announced the measure, it has not yet gone into effect, meaning he is being kept from the site illegally.

“I stand now at the Lions’ Gate and [police] are denying me entry to the Temple Mount, in contravention of the law. There is a gap in time between Netanyahu’s decision and the directive being issued, and the directive has not gone out. I’m not moving from here until they show me the order preventing me from entering,” he says.

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