World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has sharply criticized members of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) who recently entered East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.
Speaking to Israeli public radio on Thursday, Lieberman described a recent visit to the site by three Knesset members as an attempt to get "cheap publicity."
Lieberman went on to assert that the Israeli lawmakers had taken "cynical advantage of a sensitive and complicated political situation."
"Let's just say it was unwise," he added.
Several Israeli parliamentarians have entered the mosque complex within the last week, drawing the ire of Muslim worshippers and official condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries.
Over the past tumultuous week in East Jerusalem, MPs Moshe Feiglin, Tzippy Hotovely and Ayelet Shaked – along with groups of extremist Jewish settlers – entered the site, prompting clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli forces.
"Undertaking such acts at a sensitive time like this – and in a sensitive place like the Temple Mount – will not increase security for Israelis," Lieberman said, using the Jewish name – "Temple Mount" – for the holy site.
Tension has run high in the occupied Palestinian territories since last week, when Israeli authorities sealed access to the mosque complex before reopening it hours later.
The closure came after extremist Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Glick was seriously injured in a drive-by shooting in West Jerusalem.
Tension mounted further when Israeli forces killed a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi in a raid last week on his East Jerusalem home.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, referring to the area as the "Temple Mount," claim it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Last Mod: 06 Kasım 2014, 13:48