Smotrich to PM: Release UAE-Israel agreements regarding Temple Mount
The MK added that it is “a basic condition in a democratic country for the public and MKs to know what they are being asked to authorize in their vote” in the plenum.
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
The details of any agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates regarding the Temple Mount must be released before Thursday’s Knesset vote on the peace treaty, Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Smotrich pointed out that Israeli, American and Emirati officials said that visits by Muslims to the Temple Mount were part of the agreements. However, that matter is not part of the published text.
“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 last week.
The MK added that it is “a basic condition in a democratic country for the public and MKs to know what they are being asked to authorize in their vote…in the plenum.”
The cabinet unanimously approved the peace treaty between Israel and the UAE on Monday.
The August 13 statement announcing peace between Israel and the UAE, posted on US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, said: “All Muslims who come in peace may visit and pray at Al-Aksa Mosque.”
Trump said at the September 15 UAE-Israel peace treaty signing ceremony at the White House that “the Abraham Accord also opens the door for Muslims around the world to visit the historic sites in Israel and to peacefully pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.”
“For generations,” the US president added, “the people of the Middle East have been held back by old conflicts, hostilities, lies, treacheries… Lies that the Jews and Arabs were enemies and that Al-Aqsa Mosque was under attack. Constantly, they would say it was under attack. These lies, passed down from generation to generation, fueled a vicious cycle of terror and violence that spread across the region and all over the world.”
Currently, Muslims may pray at the mosque, but Jews may only visit – without praying, and only at limited times. Visitors from much of the Middle East cannot access the site because their countries do not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Citizens of Egypt and Jordan, which made peace with Israel, often have difficulty obtaining a visa due to security concerns and may have to wait months to get an answer.
The UAE-Israel peace agreement does not include visa-free travel, but there are expected to be fewer security issues in allowing Emiratis into the country, a Foreign Ministry source told The Jerusalem Post.