Arab League urges UN action over Israeli Jerusalem violations
A view of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque, otherwise known as Al Haram Al Sharif, taken from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem
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Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby called on the UN on Saturday to take urgent steps to protect Al Aqsa Mosque, warning of rising regional tensions should violations of holy sites in Jerusalem continue.
In an interview on Saturday, Araby called for urgent UN action to ensure the protection of Islamic sites in Jerusalem following a string of recent clashes between prayer-goers and Israeli authorities near Al Aqsa Mosque.
“We need the UN Security Council to act and pressure Israel to stop these violations of international conventions and religious freedoms,” Araby told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on the Jordnaian shores of the Dead Sea.
He noted that despite issuing various statements and international appeals, the Arab League remains relatively “powerless” to stop a series of perceived Israeli provocations at the third holiest site in Islam, which officials warn may lead to wider violence.
“We do not have diplomatic ties with Israel, we cannot issue binding resolutions. Unfortunately, all we can do is watch while these violations continue,” Araby said.
Araby’s appeal comes weeks after clashes at the holy site lead to Tel Aviv arresting the top Muslim cleric in the Palestinian territories, sparking region-wide condemnation and demonstrations.
Israeli authorities detained Jerusalem Mufti Mohammad Hussein for several hours earlier this month in connection with clashes that erupted between prayer-goers and Israeli security forces after the Israeli troops escorted a group of Jewish visitors into the site.
The incident marked the latest in what Jerusalem’s awqaf authorities describe as “deliberate provocations” at Al Haram Al Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Site officials accuse Israeli authorities of escorting dozens of Jewish tour groups into the site each month, disrupting prayers and facilitating the entry of extremists who advocate for the destruction of Al Aqsa Mosque.
In light of Hussein’s arrest, Jordanian lawmakers passed a unanimous non-binding measure urging the government to expel the Israeli ambassador to the country and the withdrawal the Jordanian envoy to Tel Aviv.
Although it did not comply with the measure, Jordan headed an emergency gathering of the Arab League earlier this month to discuss the ongoing violations.
The Hashemites are the official custodians of Islamic and Christian sites in Jerusalem — a historic distinction enshrined in the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty and an agreement signed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and His Majesty King Abdullah in April.
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