The Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the Arab League slammed the Israeli government for an operation during which police officers found pipe bombs on the Temple Mount in the Old City in Jerusalem on Sunday.
The Shin Bet security service alerted police to the cache, apparently an effort by Palestinians to stock up on bombs, flares and rocks ahead of an organized riot.
After the raid, which quickly turned violent, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of carrying out an “attack” on the mosque and said sites such as al-Aqsa constituted a “red line,” adding that the Palestinians “will not allow attacks against our holy places”.
“The presidency strongly condemns the attack by the occupier’s military and police against the al-Aqsa Mosque and the aggression against the faithful who were there,” said a statement from Abbas’ office.
Meanwhile, a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office said Israel sought to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount but would not tolerate rioting on the compound.
“Israel will use any means to maintain the status quo and the rule of law on the Temple Mount. It is the country’s duty and right to act against rioters in order to enable freedom of religious practice in this holy place. We shall therefore act determinedly against those who throw rocks, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs or those who use any other means” read the statement.
The man in charge of activity at the site, Sheikh Omar al Kiswani, condemned the police raid and said “Israel took over our holy site.” Speaking to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, Ksiwani said Israel “enforced its sovereignty by violence” and added that using force on the site may constitute a violation of existing agreements between Israel and the Waqf, the religious authority running the mosque.
Kiswani said two employees at the mosque were wounded by rubber bullets and dozens more were wounded by police officers beating them with batons and using other measures.
Jordan also rapped Israel for the incident, and urged it to stop “provocations” on the Temple Mount.
The Arab League issued a statement signed by foreign ministers of member states, warning against the “Judaization of al-Aqsa [mosque] by Israel.” They warned Israel not to allow Jews to pray “inside the mosque” and not to allow “extremist settlers break in and hurt the sanctity of the site.”
Neither scenario was realized on Sunday or during any of the past violent eruptions in recent memory on the volatile site, venerated by both Muslims and Jews.
The Arab League statement also threatened that member states will turn to the International Criminal Court at The Hague and that Israel “will bear responsibility” for its actions.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued a statement in which he expressed “concern” over the violence and urged “all to do their part in ensuring that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area.”
Mladenov “take[s] note of the statement by the Prime Minister of Israel that the status quo at the Holy Sites will be maintained,” his statement said.