MIDDLE EAST

Arab League: Jerusalem is a red line and Israel is playing with fire

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces outside Jerusalem's Old city July 21, 2017. (AFP)

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday that Jerusalem is a red line, accusing Israel of playing with fire and introducing the region into a "very dangerous" situation by adopting policies and measures that target not only the Palestinians but also the feelings of every Arab and Muslim.

“Jerusalem is a red line that Arabs and Muslims do not accept if touched,” a statement quoted the UN secretary-general as saying.

He said that the Israeli government is “playing with fire and creating a major crisis” in the Arab and Muslim world through the imposition of security measures to enter the the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is meeting on Monday to discuss the bloodiest violence in years between Palestinians and Israelis, diplomats said Saturday.

Violent confrontations

On Saturday, Sweden, France and Egypt called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council following violent confrontations in occupied Jerusalem.

The Middle East Quartet, which includes the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, called on all parties involved in the situation in Occupied East Jerusalem to exercise utmost restraint and called on Israel to restore the status quo in Jerusalem.

Clashes broke out in all neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem after Friday's prayer. Tensions are rising after Israel imposed security measures around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, including setting up metal detectors at the entrance to the mosque.

Three Palestinians were killed in street clashes Friday in some of the worst street violence in years, and later a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family.

‘New security cameras’

Meanwhile Israel installed new security cameras on Sunday at the entrance to the holy site, as officials began indicating it was considering “alternatives” to the metal detectors at the contested shrine.

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads the Israeli defense body for Palestinian civilian affairs, said Israel was open to alternatives to lower the tensions.

However, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, told the Voice of Palestine he demands a complete return to procedures that were in place before.

In a statement on Sunday, the Islamic institutions in Jerusalem, of which he is a part, said they “affirm the categorical rejection of the electronic gates and all the measures of occupation.”

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Last Update: Sunday, 23 July 2017 KSA 13:39 - GMT 10:39
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