Arab League to hold emergency meeting Wednesday on Israeli escalation against Palestinians

Ahram Online , Sunday 23 Jul 2017

The Arab League's chief says the Israeli government is 'playing with fire' by imposing new measures near Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem

 Arab League
File Photo: Arab League Meetings (Photo:Reuters)

The Arab League will hold an emergency ministerial meeting on Wednesday to discuss recent Israeli escalations against Palestinians, according to an Arab League statement on Sunday.

"At the request of the Kingdom of Jordan, supported by a number of the member states, it was decided to hold an emergency meeting of the Council of the League of Arab States Foreign Ministers on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest attacks and Israeli actions in the city of Jerusalem and on the compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque," the Arab League spokesman said in a statement reported by state-run news agency MENA.

On Friday, Israel closed the Al-Aqsa compound for Friday prayers after it installed metal detectors at its entrances, citing security concerns.

The Israeli closure of Al-Aqsa for Friday prayers, the first such move since Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967, triggered clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops.

Israeli forces killed six Palestinians and injured tens in the past 72 hours, while a Palestinian man stabbed three Israeli settlers to death on Friday night.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the Israeli government is "playing with fire and causing a major crisis with the Arab and Islamic world."

Jerusalem is a "red line" and Arabs and Muslims would not accept such violations by Israeli occupation forces, the pan-Arab organisation chief said in a separate statement Sunday.

Aboul-Gheit added that the current measures "have nothing to do with security."

"Security considerations are not the real motive behind the recent Israeli actions in Jerusalem's Old City and the vicinity of Al-Aqsa," he said.

"What is happening today, unfortunately, is the completion of the project to Judaicise the Holy City and take over the old town," he said.

On Saturday, two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces as Israeli troops moved to prepare for the demolition of the home of the Palestinian who they say stabbed the three Israeli settlers to death on Friday in the town of Kobar in the occupied West Bank.

On Friday, Egypt called on Israel to immediately stop its violent actions and cancel its escalated security measures against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque area, expressing "deep concern".

The UN Security Council is expected to hold closed-door talks on Monday about the spiralling violence, after Egypt, France and Sweden sought a meeting to "urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported."

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