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Court drops charges of Aqsa assault against rightist Yehuda Glick

Feb. 26, 2016 4:06 P.M. (Updated: March 1, 2016 10:56 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli court on Thursday dropped indictments against right-wing Israeli activist Yehuda Glick, 18 months after he reportedly assaulted a Palestinian woman at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The decision will likely void a ruling banning Glick from entering the compound, enabling the controversial figure to renew tours for Israelis at the flashpoint site, according to Israeli media reports.

The court reportedly said the testimony of 67-year-old Palestinian Ziva Badarna -- who said she was physically attacked by Glick in August 2014 -- had been fabricated.

Following the ruling, Glick said he “had to face a war in the court,” where he was “fighting against a system meant to protect him, but which was actually working hand in hand with our worst enemies.”

He also pledged to continue visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as part of his religious duties.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an Israeli police would abide by any orders issued by an Israeli court but was unable to provide further details on Glick's potential re-entry into the compound.

Glick came to prominence for leading groups of rightist Israelis into the mosque compound for worship, in contravention of an agreement between Israel and the Islamic endowment since 1967 that prohibits non-Muslim prayer in the compound.

He has been heavily involved with the Temple Institute, an organization dedicated to building the Third Jewish Temple in the place of the Dome of the Rock.

The Institute is one of a handful of extremist Israeli organizations who critics say have gained serious traction in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government.

The Dome of the Rock -- located in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound -- is the third holiest site in Islam, and is venerated as Judaism's most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

Increased visitation to the site by rightist groups -- like those that Glick facilitates -- last year contributed to an escalation of tensions that triggered a wave of unrest across the Palestinian territory in October.

Despite the court ban placed on Glick from entering the site, he was escorted inside the compound by Israeli guards a handful of times last year.

Palestinian Muataz Hijazi, 32, attempted to assassinate Glick in October 2014 and was shot dead on the roof of his home by Israeli forces hours later. Hijazi’s former bedroom has since been sealed with concrete in a punitive move ordered by Israeli authorities.
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