Palestinians condemn calls for Jewish prayer on Temple Mount as ‘incitement’

PA statement complains of ‘continuous Israeli schemes’ that could spell ‘disaster’

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Muslim women pray near Al-Aqsa mosque, August 8 (photo credit:  Mahfouz Abu Turk/FLASH90)
Muslim women pray near Al-Aqsa mosque, August 8 (photo credit: Mahfouz Abu Turk/FLASH90)

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday condemned Israeli calls to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, saying that Israeli incitement against the Al-Aqsa Mosque could lead to “a disaster.”

In its weekly meeting, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government condemned what it said were “the continuous Israeli schemes against the Al-Aqsa mosque” which it claimed included Israeli digging underneath the mosque; daily incursions “by the army and the settlers”; calls to destroy the mosque or allow Jews to pray in it; and Israel’s prevention of Muslims from praying in the mosque during certain times of day.

The PA government called on the Islamic conference held in Mecca Tuesday to “thwart the Israeli plans and protect the Palestinian people.” The government claimed that Israeli politicians are continuously inciting against the mosque.

Israeli legislator Aryeh Eldad of the National Union party recently proposed a bill calling for designated hours of prayer for Jews on the Temple Mount, where according to Jewish tradition the first and second Temples once stood. The Jerusalem Waqf, an Islamic trust which administers activity on the Temple Mount, currently prohibits Jews from praying at the site — a limitation that Israel, which has claimed sovereignty in the area since capturing the Old City in 1967, has tacitly accepted.

An Israeli-Arab NGO accused Israel last week of undermining the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to bring about its collapse, an allegation the Jerusalem municipality denied.

Thousands of Palestinians traditionally flock to the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, which ends on Saturday.


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