The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday called for international action to end “barbaric” Israeli attacks against Palestinian worshippers as tension continues to flare up in occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu News Agency reports.
In a statement, the pan-Muslim grouping said Secretary-General, Hissein Brahim Taha, has “dispatched identical letters to several international actors about the ongoing Israeli violation of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque through incursion, closure of the Mosque’s gates and barbaric attacks against innocent worshipers, leading to hundreds of them being injured and arrested.”
The 57-member state body said the letters were sent to the permanent members of the United Nation Security Council – the US, UK, Russia, France and China – as well as the UN Secretary-General and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
Taha warned that the “dangerous escalation of Israel’s aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an attack on the religious rights and sensibilities of the entire Islamic ummah (nation)”, adding that it constitutes “a flagrant violation of the relevant international resolutions and instruments that may stoke religious war and violence in the region and beyond.”
The OIC chief urged all international actors to act swiftly to pressure Israel “to guarantee the rights of Muslims to pray freely in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to preserve the existing historical and legal status of the holy sites in occupied Al-Quds.”
He also called for intensifying “international efforts to revive the political track that will end the Israeli occupation” and lead to the establishment of an independent State of Palestine.
Tensions have been running high across the Palestinian territories since the beginning of April, amid repeated Israeli arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank.
Dozens of Palestinian worshippers were injured Friday when Israeli forces stormed the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.
Daily settler incursions into the site to celebrate the week-long Jewish Passover holiday have further inflamed the situation.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.