Arab MK under fire from Arab colleagues for requesting permission to visit Temple Mount

Protocol requires Knesset lawmakers to get police permission, but most Arab MKs go to the holy site without asking.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Member of Knesset (MK) Mansour Abbas, of the Islamist Ra’am Party, is facing heavy criticism from his Arab colleagues after requesting permission from Israeli authorities before his visit to the Temple Mount.

For security reasons and due to the sensitivity of the site, the protocol requires an MK to receive permission from the Israel Police and the Knesset Officer before visiting the Temple Mount, as such a visit may generate a diplomatic or security incident.

However, such a request can be construed as recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the holy site, and most Arab MKs refrain from requesting such permission.

Abbas visited the Temple Mount on Sunday after receiving the required permits.

Abbas denied that he coordinated his visit but Walla! News obtained the written documents from the Knesset and police confirming that he did file the request.

In response, the Joint List, an Arab-majority list and a rival of Ra’am, issued an announcement in Arabic against Abbas, saying that his visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque “in coordination with the occupation police constitutes a dangerous precedent and recognition of Israel’s sovereignty.”

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The majority of Israel’s non-Zionist and Arab MKs do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem.