Palestinian gov't calls for urgent meetings of Arab League, OIC over Jerusalem issue

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-03 23:35:09|Editor: yan
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RAMALLAH, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Sunday called for holding urgent meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss the Jerusalem issue.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riad Malki said in an emailed statement that the call for holding both urgent meetings is "to counter Israeli steps against East Jerusalem's holy places."

Malki added that contacts had been made based on directives by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas has been discussing with several world leaders on the consequences of a possible U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in addition to the latest action by Jewish settler groups inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The Palestinian national unity government urged on Sunday governments of Arab and Islamic states to end the "incursions" into the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Jewish settlers under the protection of Israeli forces.

Palestinian government spokesperson Yousef Al-Mahmoud said the incursions are "insistence by the Israeli government to desecrate holy sites and attack the most sacred site for Arabs and Muslims in the occupied Arab city of Jerusalem, violating all norms, international laws, human principles and ethics."

Al-Mahmoud held the Israeli government responsible for "all crimes committed by settler gangs towards Al-Aqsa Mosque," and warned of possible consequences resulting from "those escalating aggressive steps" that could possibly "trigger a horrific religion conflict."

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is sacred to both Muslims, who regard it as the third holiest site in Islam, and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

The mosque compound has been administered by Jordanian Islamic Waqf Ministry since 1948. After Israel took over East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, it was obliged to respect the status quo and not make any changes to the status, laws and institutions in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians have repeatedly warned against Israeli government's attempt to break the status quo and impose changes to the holy site.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel refuses to divide the city and wants "Greater Jerusalem" as its capital.

U.S. media reports said that U.S. President Donald Trump could announce a decision, possible on Wednesday, to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, despite the strong opposition from the Islamic world. The Palestinians have warned that such a move could destroy the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and lead to renewed conflict and violence.