Israeli bill pushes for outlawing Muslim guards in al-Aqsa
A bill on behalf of the Israeli police and the Shin Bet security service will target the guards whose responsibility is to ward-off non-Muslims from the site
Israeli security officials are pushing a bill that would outlaw the presence of Muslim guards that patrol the al-Aqsa mosque, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.
Under the auspices of the Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, a bill on behalf of the Israeli police and the Shin Bet security service will target the guards whose responsibility is to ward off non-Muslims from the site.
The Haaretz reported that Aharonovitch has discussed the bill with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
Additionally, security officials claimed that blocking funding to these guards, who receive $776 to $1036 a month according to Haaretz, had led to a decrease in protests in the area around the mosque.
“The smartest thing to do is to show how we’re stopping the funding. We recently seized roughly a million shekels. We felt a drastic change on the “Temple Mount” in a matter of days, the numbers [of demonstrators] went down,” Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said, using the name Jews use to describe the compound.
“I think it’s an effective way to deal with this phenomenon,” he added during a Nov.2 meeting of the Knesset Interior Committee.
Should the bill pass, it will criminalize the guards’ presence in the al-Aqsa compound, where according to one NGO, they repeatedly stopped attempts by extremist settlers to enter the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
Israeli officials agree that authorities must continue restricting access to the compound, namely for Knesset members and right-wing activists, as the latter have been repeatedly calling for an increased Jewish presence in the area.
In statements made Tuesday, Danino branded Likud MK Moshe Feiglin’s visit to the compound a mistake.
“I forbade Feiglin from going up to the Mount until I no longer had backing from the attorney general. It was a mistake to allow someone up there who symbolizes changing the status quo,” he was quoted as saying by the Israeli daily.
In response, Feiglin slammed Danino, saying that the police chief had “failed to defend Jerusalem, and is looking for a scapegoat.
“I’m praying in accordance with the law,” he claimed.
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