Netanyahu bars politicians from visiting Al-Aqsa compound

Published October 8th, 2015 - 08:00 GMT

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has barred all ministers and MKs from visiting the Al-Aqsa compound according to a report Wednesday evening.

The decision will be in effect until further notice, a source in the Prime Minister's Office confirmed to Arutz Sheva, and comes as Israel seeks to calm tensions with Jordan over the holy site, which is administered by the Jordanian Waqf under the terms of the peace treaty between the two countries.

Netanyahu issued the new rule before his speech to the UN last week, and but has not yet communicated it directly to cabinet ministers, who will be personally informed of the directive very soon.

However, despite reports in Haaretz that it will apply to Jewish and Arab MKs alike.

While Netanyahu can prevent cabinet ministers such as Uri Ariel (JewishHome) - a frequent visitor to Judaism's holiest site - from visiting simply by threatening to fire them, he does not exercise similar control over MKs, and has therefore ordered police to physically prevent their entry.

Clashes at the Al-Aqsa compound escalated over the Rosh Hashana holiday, Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian protesters.

That prompted angry threats from the Jordanians, who threatened to withdraw their ambassador from Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu's moves are a bid to calm those tensions, but will be seen by right-wing critics as yet another capitulation to Arab demands.

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