Arab leaders decry Israeli violence on al-Aqsa mosque
Arab states have condemned Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa mosque, which left scores of Palestinians seriously injured and nearly 400 arrested after Israeli forces stormed the mosque during dawn prayers on Friday.
Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and others all released statements decrying Israel's actions - while the US state department called for all "sides to exercise restraint (and) avoid provocative actions and rhetoric".
The Saudi foreign ministry statement condemned “the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, closing of its gates, and attacking defenceless worshipers inside the mosque and in its external squares”.
أعربت وزارة الخارجية عن إدانة واستنكار المملكة لإقدام قوات الاحتلال الإسرائيلي على اقتحام المسجد الأقصى وإغلاق بواباته، والاعتداء على المصلين العُزّل داخل المسجد وفي ساحاته الخارجية، معتبرة هذا التصعيد الممنهج إعتداءً صارخاً على حرمة المسجد الأقصى ومكانته في وجدان الأمة الإسلامية pic.twitter.com/YBpPuAfJ1y— وزارة الخارجية 🇸🇦 (@KSAMOFA) April 15, 2022
“Israeli authorities must respect the right of Palestinians to practice their religious rights and to stop any practices that violate the sanctity of al-Aqsa mosque,” said the Emirati foreign ministry in their statement.
The Libyan supreme council condemned “repeated incursions and transgressions” by Israeli forces at the mosque, calling the actions “a coordinated escalation, and a blatant assault on the mosque for its unique position in the Islamic consciousness”.
Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and has been under Israeli occupation since 1967.
Israeli soldiers stormed the heart of the al-Aqsa complex on Friday morning, firing live rounds, smashing windows and performing violent arrests on men, women and children - according to videos circulating on social media.
Would it be okay to see this happening in a church? In a synagogue? In a Buddhist temple? In any temple or sacred place, anywhere?— Dima Khatib (@Dima_Khatib) April 15, 2022
This is Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied Palestine
Meanwhile, the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called for “the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem to be upheld and respected”, in a statement made by his spokesperson in New York.
The status quo at al-Aqsa mosque has been years of weekly incursions into the holy site by occupying forces and extremist Israeli settlers.
Israeli police have stormed Al Aqsa mosque, attacking Palestinian journalists, worshippers and paramedics. pic.twitter.com/V7RW59isfu— IMEU (@theIMEU) April 15, 2022
The Palestinian ministry for foreign affairs welcomed the supportive statements but spoke out saying that many did not reflect the seriousness of Israeli transgressions at al-Aqsa on Friday.
“The statements, in their entirety, did not live up to the level of the event and expectations, and did not touch on the truth or reflect on what happened but rather hid behind general rhetoric condemning an anonymous party - and calling on everyone to calm down,” said the Ministry.
“This aggression must be condemned by everyone and not covered up in general statements that provide protection for these racist behaviours…What we witnessed was violent aggression against worshipers, against Muslims and humanity,” the statement added.