World Arab League warns of Jerusalem ‘red line’

Arab League warns of Jerusalem ‘red line’

Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Hilli
Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Hilli

The Arab League warned Sunday that Israel has reached a “red line” after fresh clashes in Jerusalem, urging international pressure to stop what it branded “violations” in the holy city.

Clashes around the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound — the third holiest site in Islam and Judaism’s holiest — prompted Israel on Thursday to close the site for a day.

Al-Aqsa and adjacent neighbourhoods have seen months of violence, with the mosque compound a rallying point for Palestinian resistance to perceived Jewish attempts to take control of it.

“Israel has reached a red line,” Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Hilli said after an assembly of the 22-member bloc’s delegates.

He called on Arabs and the international community “to put a stop to these practices by the Israeli occupation authorities in Jerusalem”.

“Touching Jerusalem will lead to results with untold consequences,” he added.

On Sunday, Israeli far-right lawmaker Moshe Feiglin visited the compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, pressing for Jews to be allowed to pray there despite the heightened tensions over its status.

He was met with protests from Muslims crying “Allahu akbar” (God is greater).

The United States on Thursday urged all sides in Jerusalem to exercise restraint in the holy city, and said it was working with Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians to try to restore calm.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa, as the capital of their future state. Israel considers east Jerusalem, conquered in 1967, to be part of its “eternal” capital.