Attempts to Judaise East Jerusalem portend dangerous escalation, says Egypt's UN representative

Ahram Online , Tuesday 26 Apr 2022

Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UN Osama Abdel-Khalek warned during a meeting of the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) on Monday that Israel's continued attempts to "Judaise" East Jerusalem and change the historical and legal status quo for its holy sites portend a dangerous escalation.

Osama Abdel Khaleq
A file photo of Egypt s Permanent representative to the UN Ambassador Osama Abdel Khaleq (Photo : Al-Ahram)

The UNSC's meeting comes in light of the recent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces during religious holidays.

Over the past three weeks, Israeli forces have repeatedly stormed the mosque to evacuate it of Palestinians secluding there, as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has coincided with Jewish Passover.

"Radical Jewish groups are storming into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound daily under the protection of Israeli occupying forces during Ramadan, which is reminiscent of the events of 2021 that led to hundreds of deaths and injuries," he added, referring to last year's 11-day Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptian representative called on all parties to show restraint and fully protect Muslim worshippers, noting that worshippers "must be allowed to practice their faith in the mosque."

He also highlighted Egyptian efforts to pave the way for resuming the Middle East peace talks, the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.

Egypt has been in talks with several regional and international players to revive the long-frozen Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, and has repeatedly called for a two-state solution that involves establishing an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Abdel-Khalek stressed the need to cease all unilateral measures in the West Bank, including settlement expansion, as well as attempts to expel Palestinian families from the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan and the demolition of Palestinian buildings.

On Sunday, the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE held a meeting in Cairo where they stressed the importance of respecting the historical legal status of Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, calling for sustained efforts to restore calm.

The Arab leaders called for respecting the role of the historical Hashemite custodianship in protecting the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

They also underscored the importance of stopping all Israeli measures that undermine the two-state solution and the need to find a political horizon for resuming “serious and effective” negotiations to resolve Israeli-Palestinian tensions in accordance with international law.

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