Arab League chief blames Israel for escalation

The brother of Palestinian man Ahmed Al Shenbari, who was killed amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, reacts as mourners carry his body during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip May 11, 2021.Image Credit: Reuters

The head of the Arab League has blamed Israel for the escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories, warning that Israeli policies would blow up the situation in Jerusalem.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organisation, spoke on Tuesday as Arab foreign ministers were meeting to discuss the latest bout of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis.

He decried what he called Israel’s provocative practices in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and the planned eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in east Jerusalem.

“What we have witnessed is, clearly and frankly, a provocation by the Israeli occupation, that targeted the holiest Islamic sanctities, at the most sacred time,” he said, referring to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He urged the UN Security Council to take action.

Meanwhile, a gathering of representatives of Muslim nations has condemned Israel for the outbreak of violence in the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam.

The emergency meeting of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was held on Tuesday in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, to present a unified response from the Muslim world to the soaring tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and the latest violent confrontations in Jerusalem.

In a communique, the meeting denounced Israel’s “continuous violations’’ of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, ``barbaric attacks” against worshippers and movement restrictions on Palestinians at the compound.

Since sundown Monday, 26 Palestinians - including nine children and a woman - have been killed in Gaza, most by air strikes. Two women were killed by rockets fired from Gaza that hit their homes in the southern city of Ashkelon - the first Israeli deaths in the current violence.


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