Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s hope to be buried near the Al Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is being met with less-than-enthusiastic response from Muslims who revere the holy site.
“We warn this wicked infidel, who married a Christian infidel, against contemplating desecrating the holy Aqsa Mosque,” said a leaflet distributed by the Muslim Liberation Party, a tiny Muslim faction with a strong presence on the Temple Mount, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Muslim Waqf, the group with responsibility for the Temple Mount area, also fiercely opposes the move, reported Israel Insider.
Israeli lawmakers are getting into the fray as well. Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad has introduced a bill banning all burials on the site and in the Old City.
The Liberation Party previously opposed the burial on the Temple Mount of the former PLO representative in Jerusalem, Faisal al-Husseini, who died of a heart attack in 2001. The group says the privilege of being buried at the site should be reserved for only devout Muslims. Despite the opposition, Husseini, a member of a prominent Jerusalem Arab family, was buried on the Mount, Israel Insider reported.
According to the Jerusalem Post report, some of Jerusalem’s prominent Arab families are also opposed to Arafat being buried on the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem police recently detained three Arab residents of Jerusalem on suspicion they were putting pressure on the Muslim Waqf to agree to allocate a plot on the Mount for Arafat. The three were served with orders banning them from entering the Temple Mount for three months, the Post reported.
Eldad said of his proposed bill: “I intend to prevent the transformation of the Temple Mount into a Palestinian national site.”
The lawmakers says Arafat’s plan is an attempt “to strengthen the Arab hold on Judaism’s holiest site.”
“The Arab occupiers are attempting to bury their dead within the Old City walls and on the Temple Mount as a means of creating political and religious facts on the ground in Jerusalem,” he told Israel Insider.
“I propose that just as many Jews want to be buried in the land of their fathers, having their bodies brought to Israel for burial, Yasser Arafat should be returned to Egypt, his homeland, for burial.”
The Temple Mount is the site of two biblical Jewish temples and includes the Muslim structures the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.