ISTANBUL: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) yesterday warned of a “religious confrontation” amid tensions following Israeli raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
Violence escalated across the Palestinian territories in recent days after Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem and forcibly removed worshippers for two nights in a row on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Israeli raids on the mosque triggered rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, with Israel retaliating with airstrikes, reported Anadolu Agency.
In a statement issued following an extraordinary meeting of the OIC executive committee, the pan-Islamic grouping condemned “in the strongest terms the dangerous escalation by the Israeli occupation forces and terrorist settlers by repeatedly storming the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
The OIC held Israel accountable “for the consequences of these dangerous and provocative actions of its racist government, as it continues to seek, through systematic brutal attacks, deliberate provocation, and repeated incitement, to inflame the situation and provoke a religious confrontation with unforeseen consequences”.
The Jeddah-based organisation called on the international community, particularly the UN Security Council, “to take urgent action and necessary measures to deter and stop the dangerous Israeli escalation and all other illegal and provocative measures and policies that affect the occupied city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the sanctity of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque without selectivity or double standards.”
Palestinians accuse Israel of systematically working to ‘Judaise’ East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, and obliterate its Arab and Islamic identity.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.