Arab League to Meet Over Temple Mount Clashes

Arab League foreign ministers will meet in Cairo early next month to discuss clashes on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official said Monday.

Sunday's incident saw Arab rioters clash with Israeli Police at Judaism's holiest site on Tisha B'Av, an annual day of Jewish mourning.

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters that foreign ministers from 15 Arab states will meet on August 5 to discuss what he called the "dangerous development" in Jerusalem.

They will discuss "Israeli escalations at Al-Aqsa mosque, continuing settlements, extra-judicial arrests and assassinations and forced
displacements" of Palestinians, he said after meeting the league's chief Nabil Al-Arabi at its Cairo headquarters.

Erekat said the meeting had been called by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The 15 ministers represent Arab countries involved in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that calls for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (Shomron) in exchange for full normalization of ties with the Arab world.

The meeting will also discuss Palestinian reconciliation efforts and a new Arab bid to force Israel to make a withdrawal through the United Nations, Erekat said.

Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, Jews – and other non-Muslims – are forbidden to perform any acts of worship on the Temple Mount, including uttering prayers, due to Muslim threats of violence. Visibly-religious Jews are scrutinized carefully by police and arrested if suspected of praying.

The Temple Mount is the location of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, the latter of which was destroyed in 70 CE. 

It is also the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which is built atop the ancient Jewish ruins.

In recent years Muslim groups have sought to deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount altogether, claiming it as an Islamic holy site and seeking to prevent growing numbers of Jews from visiting it via organized harassment campaigns and outbursts of violence.

AFP contributed to this report. 


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