PLO: Israel ‘Playing with Fire’ at Aqsa Compound

Israeli soldiers at the Aqsa Mosque Compound. (File)

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Monday accused Israel of provoking the entire Muslim world in its actions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after violent clashes rocked the holy site for the second straight day.

“Israel is playing with fire,” the PLO executive committee member said during a meeting with the British Consul General to Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail, according to a statement.

“Clearly, Israel is deliberately creating and escalating a situation of instability, insecurity and violence.”

She said that Israeli authorities were forcibly securing control over the site “in preparation for the total annexation and transformation of Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” referring to the mosque compound by its Arabic name.

“By imposing its own version of its concept of the Temple Mount on the third holiest Islamic site, Israel is not only provoking the Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world,” she said.

“We call on the international community, including Arab countries and Muslim states, to intervene immediately before Israel succeeds in launching a global holy war.”

Palestinians clashed with Israeli police at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the second straight day Monday as Jews celebrated their new year and Palestinian protesters vowed to protect the holy site.

Israeli forces detained and injured a number of Palestinians, including journalists, during the clashes, and protesters reportedly barricaded themselves inside the mosque.

Palestinians have expressed fears that Israel is seeking to change rules governing the site, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access to the compound and even efforts by fringe organisations to erect a new temple.

Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the compound, but Jews are not allowed to pray or display national symbols, under an agreement between Israel and the Islamic Endowment that controls the site.

(Ma’an)

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