‘Release Temple Mount agreements,’ demands Israeli lawmaker ahead of vote on UAE accord

Bezalel Smotrich urged the prime minister to disclose the terms of any agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates regarding access to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

By World Israel News Staff

Member of the Knesset Bezalel Smotrich is pushing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release the details of any agreements formed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pertaining to the Temple Mount prior to a vote in the Israeli parliament on the peace accord between the two nations.

The vote is slated to take place on Thursday.

The Yamina lawmaker made the demands in a letter to Netanyahu, which referenced comments from officials from the U.S., Israel and the UAE indicating that Muslims would enjoy unfettered access to the Temple Mount, which is Judaism’s holiest site and is also home to the Al-Aqsa mosque.

“All Muslims who come in peace may visit and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque,” tweeted U.S. President Donald Trump om August 13.

Under the status quo, an Islamic trust called the Waqf largely controls access to and activities on the Temple Mount, despite the fact that the site is located in territory that belongs to Israel. The Waqf maintains a blanket ban on prayer by all non-Muslims, which primarily affects Jewish visitors, who are permitted in small numbers to visit the holy site.

In the past, Arabs have launched violent riots on the Temple Mount when Jews visited or attempted to pray there.

“In order to stand for the Israeli-Jewish interest at the holiest site in the world for Jews, I ask to receive all of the agreements between the sides, written or oral, connected to the Temple Mount, its diplomatic and property status, its administration and visitation and prayer arrangements for Jews and for those who are not,” Smotrich wrote in the letter to Netanyahu, which the Jerusalem Post quoted.

On Monday, the Israeli Cabinet unanimously approved the nation’s agreement with the UAE, which the Knesset will be called on to ratify by vote on Thursday.

Netanyahu released a statement following the Cabinet meeting on Sunday summarizing his discussion with  Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan about “co-operation” in “investment, tourism, energy, technology and other fields,” the Associated Press reported.

“We will also cooperate and are already cooperating in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.