The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday warned against any Israeli assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu News Agency reports.
In a statement following an extraordinary meeting, the Jeddah-based organisation called for imposing sanctions on far-right Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, for violating the sanctity of the flashpoint site.
Last week, Ben-Gvir stormed the Al-Aqsa complex, triggering a deluge of condemnations from countries across the world, including Jordan, Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan.
The OIC considered Ben-Gvir’s visit as a “serious provocation that hurts the feelings of Muslims all over the world and in a blatant violation of international law, relevant UN resolutions, existing historic and legal situation in Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and its sanctities and all relevant international norms”.
The pan-Muslim grouping strongly condemned Israeli settlers’ “repeated attacks” on Christian holy places and properties, “including the recent attack on the endowments of the Orthodox Church at Bab-Al-Khaleel and Silwan, and the desecration and destruction of Christian graves on Mount Zion in the eastern part of Al-Quds.”
The OIC went on to urge the United Nations Security Council “to assume its responsibilities” and to stop the dangerous Israeli escalation in Occupied East Jerusalem.
The statement affirmed the Palestinian sovereignty over “Al-Quds Al-Sharif [East Jerusalem] and all its holy places, its ancient town and its walls”, saying that all measures taken by the Israeli Occupation authorities to change the character and legal status of the city or its demographic composition as “null and void and have no legal effect”.
Palestinians accuse Israel of systematically working to Judaise East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, and to 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.