Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that incitement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was to blame for the shooting of a Temple Mount activist a night earlier
Netanyahu convened a meeting of top security officials Thursday morning, a day after Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a prominent activist for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, was shot in an apparent assassination attempt.
“I said only days ago that we are facing a wave of incitement by radical Islamic elements and by Palestinian Authority head Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], who said that the ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount needs to be prevented by every means,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Netanyahu held the meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Shin Bet security service head Yoram Cohen, Israel Police commissioner Yohanan Danino, Jerusalem Police commissioner Moshe Edri, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and representatives of the IDF and Justice Ministry, according to statement from the PMO.
Israel’s closure of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an assassination attempt Wednesday, is tantamount to a “declaration of war,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday morning.
Abbas’s remarks came after a suspect in the shooting of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist was killed in a gunfight with the police in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor. Police closed the compound early Thursday out of fear of clashes in the wake of the shooting of Yehuda Glick, who campaigned for Jewish rights on the site, and as Israeli right-wing groups vowed to march on the site.
“This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.
Arab neighborhoods were reportedly awash in celebration.
Yehudah argued that Jews should be able to pray on the Temple Mount — just like Muslims and Christians do. The current situation is such that while Muslims are allowed on the Mount at any time, Jews have restricted hours.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called late Wednesday for the anonymous US “senior administration official” who called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit” to be “held to account” for his comments.
Robert G. Sugarman, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, wrote that they were “deeply concerned by a number of recent public and private criticisms, personal insults and inappropriate characterizations emanating from official sources.”
The two welcomed statements from the administration distancing the White House fromcomments cited in a Tuesday column by Jeffrey Goldberg,published in The Atlantic, but believe that the administration’s characterization of the comments as “inappropriate” and “counterproductive” was insufficient.
A Conference statement called for “the person responsible be held to account and the appropriate steps be taken by the administration.”
Speaking with The Times of Israel, Hoenlein said that he would not specify what constituted “appropriate steps,” saying that such a decision was “for the administration to determine.” No apology has been issued, he noted, and while the administration criticized the comments, it did not call for any apology – an action that would presumably “out” the anonymous source of the comments.