Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, on Monday, slammed Israeli violations in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, saying the site is only for Muslims, Anadolu News Agency reports.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque “is a place of worship purely for Muslims alone,” Taha said during an OIC extraordinary meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss Israeli violations at the Al-Aqsa complex.
The OIC Chief said Palestine, and especially Jerusalem, has been “witnessing an unprecedented escalation in the pace of illegal Israeli measures and daily attacks on Islamic and Christian holy sites, especially the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Stressing the need to preserve and respect the status quo in the holy sites in occupied Jerusalem, Taha condemned Israeli temporal and spatial division of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“I addressed several international actors and informed them of the OIC’s rejection and condemnation of the attempts of the Israeli occupation to impose the temporal and spatial division of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.
He also renewed his call to international actors “to assume their responsibilities and engage in sponsoring a political path that leads to ending the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Tensions have been running high across the Palestinian territories since the beginning of April, amid repeated Israeli arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank and daily settler incursions into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.
During a phone call with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, on Sunday, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, reiterated his call to preserve and respect the status quo in the holy sites in occupied Jerusalem.
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.