The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Saturday joined the condemnation of Israel over the previous day’s violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli police in scenes similar to those that preceded the Gaza war. in May last year.
“The United Arab Emirates today strongly condemned the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli forces, which resulted in damage to a number of civilians,” the Gulf State Department said in a statement, adding that it “emphasizes the need for self-control and worship of worshipers. . “
The statement said it “underlines the position of the United Arab Emirates that the Israeli authorities should respect the right of the Palestinians to practice their religious rituals and stop any practice that violates the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Furthermore, the United Arab Emirates stressed the need to respect the custodial role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in accordance with international law and the current historical context and not to compromise the authority of the Jerusalem endowment, which manages the affairs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the statement continued. to the Waqf Muslim authorities who administer the religious sites on Temple Mount.
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement on Saturday, saying that “the Israeli police storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and the subsequent damage and arrest of Palestinian rioters were “a provocation for Muslims, especially during the holy month. [Ramadan]. “
The Gulf states’ condemnation came after the United States expressed its “deep concern” over the violence in Jerusalem, and Israel’s neighbors in the Middle East, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, all issued statements condemning the violence.
The UN and the EU were more measured in their responses and instead focused on calling for calm and urging the parties to act with restraint.
On Friday, hundreds of Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, stockpiling stones and other items to throw at uninvited guests. Dozens of youths began marching through the area, some waving Palestinian flags while others carried green banners affiliated with the Hamas terrorist group, police said. The marches threw stones and set off fireworks.
Officers arrested about 400 rioters, and the Palestinian Red Crescent said 158 were injured – a majority of them probably due to tear gas inhalation. Footage showed chaos at the site with showers of rocks and fireworks fired at heavily armed police. Palestinians circulated clips of officers striking protesters, including fleeing women and journalists.
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Determined to clear the mosque of the stored stones, police decided to break up the building, resulting in dozens of arrests and scenes identical to those unfolding nearly a year ago.
After six hours, however, they managed to free the area from rioters. The calm was restored and the afternoon prayer managed to proceed without incident, with about 50,000 Muslim worshipers attending.
Ramadan is typically a period of high tension as tens of thousands of worshipers, including many Palestinians in the West Bank, attend worship services at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is located on top of the Temple Mount. The place is the holiest place of Judaism, and the mosque is the third holiest of Islam.
The site is the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the tensions that could easily snowball into wider fires. Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups have repeatedly invoked the holy site of the flashpoint as a red line. Police actions to stem riots that last year helped trigger the 11-day war in Gaza in May.
In addition to the holiday friction, Israeli troops have carried out extensive raids in the West Bank following the deadliest outbreak of terror in Israel for years.