Israel's Netanyahu slams Arab lawmaker for holy site visit

JERUSALEM: Israel's prime minister is lashing out at an Arab lawmaker for flaunting a directive and visiting the sensitive Jerusalem holy site that is the key issue in the recent round of violence.

Benjamin Netanyahu had instructed all ministers and lawmakers to avoid visiting the hilltop compound in the Old City during the tense time. He says Basel Ghattas went there Wednesday "solely for the purpose of provocation, only to inflame the situation."

Ghattas says he does not recognise Netanyahu's authority.

The violence began last month with clashes at the site and quickly spread. Eleven Israelis have been killed, mostly in stabbings, while 55 Palestinians, including 35 identified by Israel as attackers, have been killed by Israeli fire.

The site, holy to both Jews and Arabs, has been quiet of late.