Middle East

Arab League chief accuses Israel of “playing with fire,” Arab FMs meet Wednesday

Arab League country Jordan called for an urgent meeting between the Arab Foreign Ministers in Cairo Wednesday, to address one of the deadliest outbreaks of Israeli-Palestinian violence in two years that left five Palestinians killed and dozens injured following Israel’s implementation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount.

“Israel is playing with fire when it tries to change the status quo of the Holy City, especially Al-Aqsah mosque,” Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abu El Gheit, said on Sunday,

Abu El Gheit, Egypt’s previous foreign minister, who visited the Temple Mount during his tenure, added that “the Israeli authorities put the region in a very dangerous situation,” saying that Israeli policies “are not directed at the Palestinians alone” and that they “hurt the feelings of every Arab and Muslim in the world.”

Saturday, Cairo and Amman discussed possible measures that could be taken following the recent escalation of violence at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Over the phone, the two sides exchanged their evaluation of the situation, emphasizing the importance of stopping further escalation of the situation between Israeli Palestinians and the removal of all restrictions imposed by Israel on Muslims worshipping at Al-Aqsa.

Egypt, Sweden and France also called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to address the latest attacks, Egyptian and Swedish diplomats said.

“Sweden, France and Egypt request UNSC to urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported,” Carl Skau, Sweden’s ambassador to the Security Council, said on Twitter.

Egyptian diplomats told Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA on Saturday that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss “calls for de-escalation amid ongoing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in East Jerusalem.”

The date of the meeting has not yet been set. Media reports, however, quoted diplomats as saying the meeting would take place on Monday.

On Friday, Egypt called on Israel to stop the violence against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque site and in Jerusalem. Egypt urged Israel to not only halt violence and but the heightened security measures against Palestinians in Jerusalem, after three Palestinians were killed in clashes with occupation forces at the mosque.

Cairo expressed its “deep concerns” about the repercussions of such escalation as well as its distress over the deaths and injuries of civilians due to the use of excessive force.

Earlier this week, Israel closed the mosque to Palestinians for Friday prayers for the second time since Israel occupied Jerusalem in 1967, installing metal detectors and cameras at the entrance to the Haram Al-Sharif Compound following the killing of two policemen at the site.

On Saturday, three Palestinians were killed and more than 200 were injured when occupation forces attacked worshippers outside the mosque following Friday prayers.

The clashes came one day after Israeli occupation police said they were barring men under 50 from entering Jerusalem’s Old City for Friday prayers.


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