search

Palestinian envoy to UN: ‘Jewish extremists and settlers’ seeking takeover of Temple Mount

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour address a UN Security Council meeting on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict at UN headquarters, on March 26, 2019. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour address a UN Security Council meeting on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict at UN headquarters, on March 26, 2019. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour claims Jews visiting the Temple Mount are seeking to takeover the entire site known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif.

“Jewish extremists and settlers are not just visitors, as Israel claims. They are in fact pursuing an agenda when they enter Al-Haram Al-Sharif, they are seeking a takeover,” Mansour says in his remarks to the UN Security Council during its monthly session on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“How do we know it? We just listen to them, they do not hide their intentions, they proclaim them. When Israeli forces allow them to enter the site and provide them with protection and support, they do it knowingly. Pretending not to understand the outrage provoked by such assault on the Haram when each time it triggers the same reaction is outrageous,” he claims.

Over 4,600 Jews visited the Temple Mount during the Passover holiday last week — a record number, which was twice as many as there had been in 2019 and seven times as many as there were in 2014. The vast majority of visitors are from the national-religious sector.

Israel says it maintains the status quo, under which Muslims may visit and pray the site while non-Muslims can only visit. But Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai acknowledged on Saturday that there has been a “deterioration” and that Jews have been allowed to stop and pray while circling the compound. Footage from recent years indicates that it happens regularly.

Mansour points to Israel’s capping of Christian worshipers allowed inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for this past Saturday’s Holy Fire ceremony as a further violation of the status quo at Jerusalem holy sites. Israel limited the number to some 4,000 due to fears of overcrowding, which caused a deadly crush at Lag B’Omer festivities in Meron last year.

The Palestinian envoy says Israel further violated the status quo when its forces “stormed” the Temple Mount last week during clashes that led to over 150 Palestinians wounded. Police say they only entered the compound after rioters began hurling stones, shooting off fireworks, stockpiling weapons in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and targeting the Western Wall complex below.

“Clearly, Israeli officials are the only ones to believe such actions are anything but a flagrant violation of the historic status quo,” Mansour says.

comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed