The emir of Qatar opened a three-day conference in Doha on Sunday with a warning that the Arab character of Jerusalem was being threatened because of Israeli expansion in and around the city.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was speaking at the Arab League-sponsored “International Conference for the Defense of Al-Quds.” According to Ynet, some 350 representatives from Arab, Islamic and other countries were scheduled to attend.
Sheikh Hamad called on the UN to investigate Israeli settlements, as well as what he termed “Israeli actions” in the predominantly Arab districts of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas captured by Israel in 1967. He also pledged support for the recent reconciliation and unity deal between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also spoke at the conference on Sunday, charging Israel with “using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of East Jerusalem,” according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.
MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al), who is also expected at the conference, was quoted last week by Ynet News as saying that the Arab world was committed to supporting the Arab residents of the capital against Jewish settlement of East Jerusalem “aimed at Judaizing the city that was conquered in 1967.”
Robert Serry, the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, is also scheduled to address the conference.