Palestinians must keep Israelis away from al-Aqsa: Knesset member

An Israeli Arab lawmaker has called on the Palestinians to stop the ascent of Israelis to Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount in al-Quds (Jerusalem) “in every possible way.”

Jamal Zahalka said in an interview with the Palestinian al-Watan news website on Thursday that the Israelis should be prevented “at all costs” and “by any means” from visiting the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, also known as Haram al-Sharif.

“Our people have the right to the mosque, and we must protect it with all of our power. The Palestinian nation is the guardian of the mosque,” said the member of Israel’s Knesset (parliament).

His remarks came ahead of the Passover holiday beginning on April 22, in which Israelis pay visits to holy sites in al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Zahalka stressed that the increase in visits by the Israelis to Haram al-Sharif would lead to the outbreak of a third intifada in the West Bank and al-Quds (Jerusalem).

He said that the Palestinians “paid a price of 4,000 dead during the al-Aqsa intifada in 2000.”

“Israel demolishes dozens of homes and lots in the Arab Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan which is close to al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.

“Israel is trying to rule our land in the Negev and conduct an immigration of the families there. There are 40,000 citizens in danger of immigration in the Negev,” he added.

The lawmaker said the Israeli regime “is trying to implement the colonialist Zionist plan which has continued over 100 years.”

“Organizations of Zionist settlers are trying to encircle the Arabs and take their land. They are negating their rights to live.”

The occupied territories have been the scene of heightened tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

The Palestinians say the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the holy Muslim site.

At least 208 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in what is regarded as the third Palestinian Intifada (uprising) since the beginning of last October.


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