Arab League chief says Israel risks igniting ‘religious war’

Author: AFPFri, 2017-07-28 03:00ID: 1501192105163295000CAIRO: The Arab League has warned that Israeli attempts to control highly sensitive religious sites in Jerusalem by force risk igniting a “religious war.”Israel’s actions are “playing with fire, and will only ignite a religious war and shift the core of the conflict from politics to religion,” said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit.He was speaking at an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on the latest violence in Jerusalem.“I invite the occupying state (Israel) to carefully learn the lessons from this crisis and the message it holds,” Abul Gheit said in a televised speech.“Handling holy sites lightly and with this level of arrogance seriously threatens to ignite a religious war, since not one single Muslim in the world would accept the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.Protests and deadly unrest have erupted in the days since Israel installed new metal detectors on July 16 outside the entrance to the Haram Al-Sharif compound.Palestinians view the move as an attempt by Israel to assert further control over the site, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.“Challenges and dangers facing Jerusalem especially, and Palestine generally, are bigger than ever because of the increasing, illegal occupation measures implemented by the occupying force,” said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Malki.After intensive international diplomacy, Israel removed the metal detectors on Tuesday.Newly installed railings and scaffolding where cameras were previously mounted were also removed early on Thursday.Police said on Thursday morning that all new security measures had been taken away.The removal was seen as a defeat for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had ordered the new security measures and was forced to backtrack after warnings the unrest could spiral out of control.It represented a rare victory for Palestinians, who remained united in their boycott.In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, crowds of Palestinians gathered at the entrance of the site to celebrate, with whistling and constant horns from cars.Young men set off firecrackers as Israeli forces watched closely.
Main category: Middle-East

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