TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister told 57 of his counterparts that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not give up on his quest to regain control of the Temple Mount and the Muslim world should prepare itself for the next “very nasty” round of conflict over the holy site in Jerusalem.
“We know that (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is not going to accept defeat and he will try again and again with different methods and different means to impose his own status-quo over the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) and al-Quds (Jerusalem),” Riyad al-Maliki said at an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states in Istanbul on Tuesday. “We have to be prepared for the next round, which could come very soon and could be very nasty.”
He warned that Palestinians were preparing themselves for this new round of “nasty” actions by Israel at the Temple Mount — revered by Jews as the location of the First and Second Temples, and considered by Muslims to be a holy site since it houses the Al Aqsa Mosque.
Additional security measures, including metal detectors, were first installed on the Mount following a July 14 terror attack in which Arab gunmen smuggled weapons onto the holy site and shot and killed two Israeli police officers. The measures sparked outrage throughout the Arab and Muslim world, which accused Israel of trying to control the site. The Palestinian leadership urged Muslims to take part in several “Days of Rage” and riot in the streets of Jerusalem and the West Bank. Netanyahu eventually gave the order to remove the new security measures, which al-Maliki described as a “small victory in the long battle for freedom.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who acted as the MC of the OIC’s executive committee meeting, which was convened especially to discuss the Temple Mount, said that all 57 member nations must recognize Jerusalem as the capital of an independent state of Palestine.
“We should show our support to the Palestinians, who have been living under Israeli occupation for 50 years, millions of them who had to leave their home, not just with our dry words, but with our actions,” Cavusoglu said.
He added, “We should all be very careful against provocations. No bans or limitations, including the age restrictions to the Temple Mount, can be accepted.”
OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen urged OIC nations to provide the “necessary international protection to the Palestinian people and assume their responsibility to end Israeli aggressions and infractions in al-Quds.”
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi slammed Israel for the record-breaking 1,300 Jewish “extremists” who “stormed” the Temple Mount for the Tisha B’Av fast on Tuesday commemorating the destruction of both Jewish temples that once stood there.