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Emergency meeting of Arab FMs over Jerusalem tensions delayed to Thursday

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-07-24 09:29

Emergency meeting of Arab FMs over Jerusalem tensions delayed to Thursday

Palestinian children hold candles during a protest against Israel's newly-installed security measures at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 23, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - The emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss Israeli aggression over Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem has been delayed to Thursday, the Cairo-based Arab League (AL) said in a statement on Sunday evening.

Requested by Jordan and supported by several Arab states, the emergency meeting was scheduled to be held on Wednesday, but the AL said the delay is to guarantee largest number of participant ministers.

The meeting is intended to discuss the latest Israeli aggressions and measures in East Jerusalem and its Al-Aqsa Mosque shrine.

The AL said that it also coordinated with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to address the issue in its ministerial meeting next week.

Tensions between Israel and Palestinians have been rising since July 14 when Israel installed checkpoints and metal detectors at the entrances of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after three Israeli Arab gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen near the holy site. The three were later killed by the Israeli police.

Since then, daily clashes have been erupting between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters at the gates of the mosque compound and elsewhere in the West Bank.

In clashes during a massive protest on Friday, Israeli security forces killed three Palestinians and injured hundreds of others.

On Sunday, Israel further installed security cameras around the holy site, yet it remains unclear whether the cameras will replace the metal detectors that sparked Palestinian rage.

The AL has repeatedly condemned the Israeli practices at Al-Aqsa Mosque as a blatant breach of the right of worship and violation of relevant international laws and UN resolutions.

In an earlier statement on Sunday, the pan-Arab organization referred to the recent Israeli measures as "playing with fire," stressing that Jerusalem is "a red line."

Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site for Jews. It has been a flashpoint site for Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past decades since the 1967 Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem.

The recent Israeli measures led to new tensions in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that has lasted for decades, since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the Western-backed creation of Israel in 1948.

Israel is blamed by the international community for the current deadlock of the peace process because of its settlement expansion policy, which is rejected even by the United States, its strongest ally.

The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital city in the light of the UN-proposed two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders.

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