'Force will determine Jerusalem's fate'

jordan warns israel over

October 25, 2009 19:37
2 minute read.

Following a day of clashes between security forces and Arab rioters in Jerusalem, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Sunday evening stated that the fate of the capital would be determined by force, not negotiations. "The fate of Jerusalem will be determined only by confrontation and not by the negotiating tables," Mashaal said in a speech, according to Channel 10. "The Israelis want to divide al-Aqsa Mosque, and this is not all. They want to hold their religious ceremonies in the mosque … in preparation for demolishing it and building their temple there," he reportedly said. Israel is interested in handling the Jerusalem issue unilaterally so that it is not included in negotiations with the Palestinians, Mashaal claimed. "Jerusalem is all of Jerusalem, not only [the east Jerusalem neighborhood of] Abu-Dis. The Arabs and Muslims are [the city's] residents, and the Zionists have no claim over it," he said. "I call for angry protests in Palestine and in the Arab world. Today, protests began in [the] Gaza [Strip], and we hope they will spread to the West Bank. It is important for there to be a united Palestinian position. We must send a message to the world: In light of the settlements and actions in Jerusalem, there are no negotiations and we must rethink our steps," the Hamas leader concluded. Also on Sunday evening, Jordan warned Israel against "provocative behavior" in the city, saying continued violence could "derail all opportunities of peace and stability in the region." "Any new provocative attempts by Israeli troops and Jewish extremists such as what happened today in the shrine's compound represents a flagrant violation of international law and conventions and sets the stage for more tension and acts of violence," Jordanian Minister for Media Affairs and Communication Nabil Sharif was quoted by the UAE-based Khaleej Times as saying in a statement. "Jordan, out of its historical responsibilities in being the custodian of the holy places in Jerusalem, is extremely worried about what is taking place and warns against going ahead with this provocative behavior on the part of Israeli troops," he reportedly added. According to the report, Sharif urged "an immediate end to such dangerous practices which threaten to derail all opportunities of peace and stability in the region". Nine police officers were lightly injured and 21 rioters arrested, during clashes that broke out between Arabs and police on the Temple Mount, in the alleyways of the Old City's Muslim Quarter and east Jerusalem in a fresh round of violence that threatened to keep already-heightened tensions in the capital simmering. A female Australian journalist was also injured during Sunday's unrest when she was struck in the head with a rock, apparently after being caught between rioters and security forces at an entrance to the Temple Mount in the Old City's Muslim Quarter. She was treated at the scene.

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