Arab nations slam Israel over violence

10 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

KHARTOUM: Arab countries, including four that last year agreed to normalise relations with Israel, have condemned a weekend of violence after hundreds of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces, reports AFP.

The violence around east Jerusalem’s revered Al-Aqsa mosque compound and the Old City is the worst since 2017, fuelled by a years-long bid by Jewish settlers to take over Palestinian homes.

Criticism of Israeli conduct has poured in from Sudan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain—all nations that last year agreed to normalise, or normalised, relations with the Jewish state.

Khartoum labelled Israeli measures in Jerusalem against Palestinians as “repression”, and “coercive action” in a foreign ministry statement late Saturday.

It called on the Israeli government “to refrain from taking unilateral steps that diminish the chances for resuming peace negotiations.”

The UAE and Bahrain condemned Friday’s stroming of Al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli security forces, and the ensuing crackdown on worshippers seeking to access the site.

Abu Dhabi urged Israeli authorities to “take responsibility for de-escalation” of violence at the holy site, while Manama called on the Israeli government “to stop these rejected provocations against the people of Jerusalem.”

Meanwhile, Morocco expressed “deep concern” over the violence saying King Mohammed VI “considers these violations... (are) likely to fuel tensions.”

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said it “rejected” Israeli plans to evacuate Palestinian households from Jerusalem, and called for the reinstatement of the pre-1967 borders.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem during the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it, in a move not recognised by most of the international community.

Scores of people were injured on Saturday as Israeli police fired water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian protesters in annexed east Jerusalem, a day after fierce clashes at the city’s Al-Aqsa mosque, reports AFP.

The fresh violence, a day after more than 200 people were wounded at the mosque, prompted international calls for an end to the violence.

Police said they dispersed the rally in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where demonstrators had thrown stones at security forces.

Officials said Sunday a rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip, with the Israel Defense Forces responding by striking a “military target” in the south. Earlier, officers had fired tear gas towards protesters on the border.