THE TEMPLE MOUNT in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Arab League on Sunday stated that Jerusalem is a "red line" in response to massive protests against Israel's implementation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount.
The 22-member state organization's Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that "Jerusalem is a red line, Arabs and Muslims will not allow harm to it." He added, "Israel is playing with fire when it tries to changing the status quo in the Holy City, especially the al-Aksa mosque."
Aboul Gheit, who previously served as Egypt's foreign minister and visited the Temple Mount during his tenure, said that "the Israeli authorities put the region in a very dangerous situation," saying that Israeli policies "are not directed at the Palestinians alone" and that they "hurt the feelings of every Arab and Muslim in the world."
A spokesman for the secretary general accused Israel of trying to "Judaize" Jerusalem, a city which they said had an "Arab character." The statement also said Israeli "excavations around the Temple Mount to look for Jewish symbols have no basis in reality."
Aboul Gheit claimed that "Israel is trying to take over the Old City although no other country recognizes its sovereignty there, and it is considered one the most final status issues between Israel and the Palestinians." He stressed that any changes in the Old City "constitute a red line" and encouraged the international community - particularly the United States - "to take responsibility and to oblige the Israeli government to maintain the status quo."
He also added that "Israel is playing with fire and has ignited a major crisis in the Arab world, making the struggle with the Palestinians a religious struggle - which will lead to disastrous consequences for the future."
Arab League spokesman Mahmoud Afifi said that an emergency meeting will be held on Wednesday with the foreign ministers of the league's member states, at the request of Jordan.
On Monday, the UN Security Council will discuss the situation in Jerusalem.