Israeli politicians attack Azmi Bishara, Arab MKs over al-Aqsa

Israeli politicians attack Azmi Bishara, Arab MKs over al-Aqsa
Analysis: Israeli politicians from both the left and the right have railed against Palestinian members of the Knesset for supporting Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque in the face of repeated Israeli assaults.
2 min read
01 October, 2015
Palestinian-Israeli member of parliament Haneen Zoabi (2ndL) has taken part in demonstrations outside al-Aqsa [AFP]
Members of the Israeli Knesset - including those from both the right and left, as well as ministers in the Israeli government - have launched attacks on former MK Azmi Bishara, and National Democratic Assembly members Jamal Zahalka and Haneen Zoabi.

The Israeli politicians also called for barring elected lawmakers representing Palestinian citizens of Israel from entering al-Aqsa Mosque.

The incitement against Bishara and Palestinian politicians in the Knesset came after confrontations between Zahalka and Israeli troops at the al-Aqsa compound.

The first attack came from Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev, who wrote on Facebook: "We are sick of you, Balad (the National Democratic Assembly).

"Zahalka, Bishara, and Zoabi are experts at provocation and their banner is the banner of hatred," Regev added, proclaiming that Palestinian-Israeli lawmakers had no place in the Knesset.

Several Israeli politicians followed suit, including from the so-called Israeli left. Itzik Shmuli, Zionist Camp MK, accused Zahalka of provocation and incitement to "violence".

For his part, former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the Israeli government's legal adviser to refer Zahalka to trial, claiming he and other Palestinian MKs on the Joint List were "inflaming passions" at al-Aqsa against Jews storming the mosque compound.

Meanwhile, Minister Uri Ariel, a far-right activist who has taken part in incursions into the al-Aqsa compound, called on the Israeli prime minister and minister of internal security to bar all Arab MKs from entering al-Aqsa, and for banishing from the mosque any activists who support them.

Clashes have been taking place at al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem between Israelis, police and Palestinian activists defending the mosque compound, in which it is illegal, under Israeli law, for non-Muslims to pray.

Palestinian officials have accused Israel of engineering the recent escalation of tension there in a push to alter the status quo at the mosque, as part of a plan to manipulate the demographic make-up of the occupied city.