Saturday, May 23
Latest News
  1. Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen rebels in three cities
  2. Police: 3 killed by two grenades in Burundi capital
  3. Official: 39 dead in Mexico clash between police, armed civilians
  4. US Senate approves fast-track trade authority for Obama
  5. Senate blocks bill that would end US bulk data dragnet
  6. Official: Turkey arrests French citizen bound for Syria
  7. Priest 'kidnapped in Homs' region of Syria
  8. Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen rebels in three cities
  9. Over 55,000 have fled IS-captured Ramadi since mid-May
  10. President: death toll in anti-FARC air strike in Colombia rises to 26
  11. Dutch cabinet backs partial Islamic burqa ban
  12. Iran: Nuclear talks to resume Tuesday in Vienna
  13. UK's Cameron says 'confident' of securing EU reform deal
  14. Huge blasts outside Sanaa after coalition air raids
  15. Monitor: Rebels seize hospital holding 150 Syrian soldiers
  16. Blast hits Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi
  17. US envoy urges Myanmar Rohingya 'citizenship' to end exodus
  18. UN: 300-400 new cholera cases per day among Burundians in Tanzania
  19. Iraq's Sunni tribes feel deserted after Ramadi fall
  20. London cabbie bombmaker 'murdered US soldier in Iraq'

PLO slams 'provocative attack' on Jerusalem worshipers

Sept. 27, 2009 9:52 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 28, 2009 5:04 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The top Palestinian negotiator, Dr Saeb Erakat, on Sunday condemned what he termed Israeli violence against worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem earlier the same day.

"This attack on ordinary civilians and worshippers at Al-Aqsa is unacceptable," he said in a statement to Ma'an. "Israel must cease all actions that will only inflame the situation."

Dozens of Palestinians and several police officers sustained injuries during clashes that erupted after a group settlers reportedly entered the Old City compound under the watch of Israeli forces operating in the area.

"Providing a police escort for settlers who are against peace at all costs, and whose presence is deliberately designed to provoke a reaction, are not the actions of someone who is committed to peace, but of someone who will go to extraordinary lengths to scuttle all hopes of peace."

As many as nine Palestinians were arrested over their reaction to what Erekat called a provocation that should never have been allowed to happen in the first place due to the holy city's sensitivity in negotiations.

"The fate of Jerusalem lies in negotiations. It will not be decided by violence or brutality, or by Israeli settlers seemingly determined to destroy Jerusalem as it once was, an open and multicultural city, and home to the world’s three great monotheistic faiths," he said.

The top Palestine Liberation Organization official, who has sought unsuccessfully to get Israel's right-wing government to agree to hold off on building settlements in occupied territory for a short while to allow for negotiations, called Sunday's events detrimental to the peace process.

"At a time when President Obama is trying to bridge the divide between Palestinians and Israelis, and to get negotiations back on track, Israel is deliberately escalating tensions in Jerusalem," Erekat said.

"Emboldened by its ability to fend off calls for a settlement freeze, the fear is that Israel will now try to fan the flames of violence in the Middle East knowing that it has little to worry about when it comes to being held accountable for its actions," he said.

Erekat alleged that Sunday's events were not only reminiscent of Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to Al-Aqsa in 2000 that helped set off the second intifada, but were "deliberately timed to coincide with the eve of the anniversary of that visit." "We’ve seen this before, and we know what the consequences are."

His condemnation was echoed by the Palestinian Authority's religious affairs minister, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Islamic movement Hamas' de facto government in Gaza, and Jerusalem's archbishop, Atallah Hana.

Erakat concluded by calling on the international community to assume its responsibility toward Jerusalem.

"East Jerusalem is occupied under international law, and it is recognized as such by the international community. Yet little is being done to save Jerusalem," Erekat said. "Israel’s actions are both illegal and are designed to make Jerusalem a 'united city' for Israeli settlers only, while Israel continues to target the city's Christian and Muslim population."
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015