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Ashrawi: 'Targeting holy sites generates instability in East Jerusalem'

Aug. 18, 2018 12:17 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2018 12:53 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member, Hanan Ashrawi, warned that Israel's targeting of Muslim and Christian holy sites generates instability and escalates violence.

In response to the closure of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday for about 15 hours and Israeli forces expelling Muslim worshipers by force from the compound, Ashrawi strongly denounced the Israeli measure.

Ashrawi said in a statement "such a dangerous provocation and escalation comes in the context of Israel's ongoing policy of targeting Palestinian Muslim and Christian holy sites and implementing deliberate sectarian extremist measures to generate instability, violence and chaos in and around occupied Jerusalem."

Ashrawi continued to say that "the gravity of the situation requires immediate action from the international community and all relevant organizations and multilateral bodies. We appeal to them to actively intervene and to provide protection for the Palestinian people and their places of worship."

She added "if Israel is not made to cease and desist from its dangerous and unlawful measures, its actions will provoke confrontations with serious ramifications throughout an already-volatile region and beyond."

The Muslim Department of Endowment (Waqf), the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan, the custodian over the Muslim holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem, strongly protested Israel's interference in Muslim affairs and banning free worship, demanding an immediate end to closing the holy site for Muslim worshipers.

The Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson, Jumana Ghunaimat, condemned Israel for the closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ghunaimat said "such practices condemn the sanctity of this holy site, provoke the feelings of worshipers present and of Muslims all around the world, and violate Israel's obligations as an occupying power in East Jerusalem under international law and international humanitarian law."

Israel reopened the Mosque for worship early Saturday following strong local and Arab protests after its closure, in which hundreds of people held the Friday evening and night prayers outside the closed gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The 15-hour closure came after a stabbing attack attempt by a Palestinian in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinian, Ahmad Muhammad Mahamid from Umm al-Fahm town in northern Israel, was immediately shot and killed by Israeli forces.

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