image Photo: Flash90

Bennett: lack of int’l protest against Gaza rockets

The Israeli leader made the complaint during a telephone conversation with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.

By Erin Viner

According to a statement communicated by the Prime Minister’s Foreign Media Advisor obtained by TV7, Bennett “expressed his disappointment at the absence of condemnation by the UN for the firing of rockets at Israel.”

“The international community must not serve the agenda of the terrorist organizations. Israel is the stabilizing force; if we did not uphold order, tens of thousands of Muslims would not be able to pray. These are people who prepared rocks and Molotov cocktails in advance for use from inside the [al Aqsa] mosque,” the Israeli leader told Guterres regarding the spate of violent Palestinian riots on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount for which he blames Hamas.

The two also discussed the UN Secretary General’s expected trip to see Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy, and the efforts to resolve the situation between Russia and Ukraine, said the statement.

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid delivered a blistering indictment against Palestinian rioters during a press briefing for the foreign press yesterday.

“In the past three weeks, there has been a dangerous effort underway in Jerusalem. During Ramadan, terrorist organizations have been trying to hijack the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to create an outbreak of violence in Jerusalem, and from there, a violent conflict across the country,” said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) statement.

Hamas and (Palestinian) Islamic Jihad extremists burst into Al-Aqsa Mosque in the early mornings, again and again. They brought weapons into the Mosque. They threw rocks and explosives from within it, and used it as a base to incite violent riots,” he said, underscoring that, “It is not Israel that endangered worshippers -it is the terrorist organizations who endangered them.”

Minister Lapid then stressed that, “Israel is committed to the Status Quo on the Temple Mount,” which restricts all prayer on the Temple Mount exclusively to Muslims, while Jews and Christians are only allowed to visit the holy site where both Biblical Temples once stood.

“There is no change. There will be no change. We have no plans to divide the Temple Mount between religions. We call on Muslim moderates, on Muslim states, to act against this fake news, and to work together with us to ensure our common interest: preservation of the Status Quo and calming the situation,” Lapid said in reiterating Israel’s ongoing commitment to ensuring freedom of worship to all religions.

“During Ramadan, Israel ensured that hundreds of thousands of Muslims could go to the Temple Mount and pray at Al-Aqsa. Despite provocations by terrorist organizations, despite attempts to stoke violence: We have done, and continue to do everything to enable peaceful prayer,” Lapid insisted.

Hamas terrorists stood there and openly called for the murder of Jews” during a rally on Saturday 23 April at the site was the “the only disruption” to Muslim prayers, Lapid said pointedly, asserting: “That is Hamas’s prayer – an anti-Semitic call for the slaughter of innocents.”

Turning to missile attacks raining down on the country this past week, Lapid, who is also Alternate Premier, stressed that “Israel will not accept rocket fire from Gaza. Period. We have a zero-tolerance policy for attacks on our territory.”

Following the rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday night, it was decided that crossings into Israel for Gazan merchants and workers through the Erez Crossing would not be permitted this upcoming Sunday, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Spokesperson announced, adding that, “The re-opening of the crossing will be decided accordingly with a security assessment.”

Stressing that the decision to close the crossing came in direct response to the rocket attacks, Minister Lapid accused Hamas of primary responsibility for “abusing its own people.” Ahead of the Muslim Ramadan month, he reminded his listeners, Israel had “announced that if this period would pass quietly, we would double the number of work permits from Gaza to 20,000. That is 20,000 workers who would be able to work daily in Israel and support their families. In light of recent events, we will have to examine this decision carefully.”

Palestinian clashes at the al-Aqsa mosque were also a topic Prime Minister Naftali Bennett discussed in a telephone conversation with United States President Joe Biden last night.

“The Prime Minister wished the President a happy Easter and updated him on the efforts to stop the violence and incitement in Jerusalem,” said a statement from Bennett’s Office.

Biden “took note of ongoing efforts between Israeli and Palestinian officials to lower tensions and ensure a peaceful conclusion to the holy season of Ramadan” and affirmed “his unwavering support for Israel and its defense needs,” the White House said in its statement.

The two leaders also discussed “the threat posed by Iran and its proxies,” the White House added, including Washington’s consideration of Tehran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the US Foreign Terror Organization (FTO) list – to which Israel is strongly opposed.

The IRGC is the largest terrorist organization in the world,” stressed Prime Minister Bennett in the statement, adding that, “I am sure that President Biden, who is a true friend of Israel and cares about its security, will not allow the IRGC to be removed from the list of terrorist organizations. Israel has clarified its position on the issue:”

President accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to visit Israel in the coming months, said both Bennett’s office and the White House.

The two leaders will remain “in regular contact” until that time, said the White House.

Bennett visited Washington last August, where he held talks with Biden in the Oval Office on a variety of topics, during which the US President reiterated America’s “commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon.