Egypt calls for end to Israeli crackdown in Jerusalem

Ahram Online , Monday 10 May 2021

On Monday, more than 330 people were injured after Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and fired rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades at Palestinian protesters

Al Aqsa Mosque
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Monday, May 10, 2021. AP

Egypt called on Monday for the Israeli authorities to stop all actions that violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and to provide protection to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, including in the mosque compound.

As a crackdown by Israeli police on Palestinians in Jerusalem continued on Monday, the Egyptian foreign ministry warned in a statement of the consequences of the recent developments.

On Monday, more than 330 people were injured, reports cited a representative of the Palestinian Red Crescent as saying, after Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and fired rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades at Palestinian protesters.

Israeli settlers also broke into Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district led by supremacist lawmakers and supported by Israeli occupation forces, reported the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The Egyptian foreign ministry condemned “in the strongest terms Israeli forces’ re-storming of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.”

The ministry also condemned the dismissing of Palestinian worshippers from the mosque compound.

The ministry highlighted “the necessity that Israel shoulder its responsibilities toward these rapid and grave developments,” saying these developments can “lead to further undesirable tensions and escalation.”

Also, the ministry called for Israeli authorities to “halt all practices that violate the sanctity of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially during the holy month of Ramadan in line with the rules of international law.”

The ministry affirmed the need to refrain from “targeting the Islamic and Christian Arab identity of Jerusalem.”

The crackdown took place in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district, sparked by Israeli plans to evict Palestinian families from lands claimed by Jewish settlers, and has extended to the mosque compound.

The escalating violence in Jerusalem has led to the UN Security Council holding an urgent meeting on Monday, though a closing statement has not yet been released.

The Security Council meeting comes after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed “serious concerns” to his Israeli counterpart about the violence sparked by planned evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

Also, an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League will be held at the level of foreign ministers on Tuesday to probe the recent actions by Israeli forces against the Palestinians.

The tensions on Monday also correspond with the Israeli commemoration of Jerusalem Day, which marks the anniversary of the Israeli capture of Jerusalem’s Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. An Israeli flag march is expected.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamist Hamas, warned of consequences if the Israeli forces do not withdraw from Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah and release all detainees in the recent Jerusalem protests before 6pm local time.

Subsequently, the Israel Defence Forces said seven rockets were fired against Jerusalem from the Gaza Strip, and one was intercepted.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had phone conversations separately with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland on Monday to discuss the developments in Jerusalem.

Shoukry affirmed to Wennesland the need to keep the situation in Jerusalem under control, a statement by the foreign ministry said.

Shoukry also said that he has contacted the Israeli authorities and called for allowing the Al-Aqsa worshippers to freely perform their religious rituals and for the mosque and sacred sites in the city to be protected.

Shoukry and Prince Faisal both expressed their rejection of the illegal practices that target the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

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