Arab League to hold emergency meeting on Jerusalem

Regional body will also discuss summer war in Gaza, attack on Egyptian military that killed 31

Arab foreign ministers meet at the Arab League building in Cairo, Egypt, July 2014. (AP Photo/Ahmed Gomaa)
Arab foreign ministers meet at the Arab League building in Cairo, Egypt, July 2014. (AP Photo/Ahmed Gomaa)

The Arab League will hold an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss ongoing tensions in Jerusalem, among other regional issues, Kuwait’s envoy to the body announced Saturday.

Aziz al-Dihani said Kuwait called for the meeting to focus on the situation in Jerusalem amid “violations against the al-Aqsa Mosque” by Israel, the summer’s conflict in Gaza and the attack on Egyptian soldiers that left 31 dead, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.

Ongoing violence in Iraq would also be discussed, according to the Kuwait news agency KUNA.

Tensions over the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and which contains the al-Aqsa Mosque, have ramped in recent days amid calls by Palestinian officials to “defend” the site against visits by Jewish Israelis.

Israeli officials closed the site to both Jewish and Muslim worshipers on Thursday in a bid to calm tensions after the shooting of an activist who lobbied for Jewish rights on the site, drawing condemnation from Palestinians and others.

The site was opened to some Muslim worshipers on Friday and on Sunday, Jewish visitors, who are barred from praying, were also allowed on the site.

The tensions over the site, known as Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, have come against the backdrop of near daily riots in some East Jerusalem flashpoint neighborhoods.

Several violent clashes occurred in the capital Saturday night between security forces and Palestinian protesters: A small improvised bomb was hurled at police forces in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, with no casualties reported; fireworks were fired at policemen in the Old City and in Wadi Joz; a 13-year-old Arab teen attacked a Jewish man near the Old City’s Damascus Gate, and was arrested.

Officials have vowed to crackdown on the violence, dispatching over a thousand police to flashpoint neighborhoods on the capital.

The situation in Gaza, where Israel fought a 50-day war with Hamas and other Palestinian factions, will also be brought up in the Arab league meeting, according to Ma’an.

Israel closed all crossing into the Strip on Sunday, after a rocket was shot at Israel on Friday night.

Egyptians have also clamped down on the southern border of the Strip, bulldozing homes to make room for a buffer zone, after an attack in the Sinai peninsula last week left 31 policemen dead.

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