Arab League Chief Says Israel Crossing Red Line on Temple Mount, Arab World Won't Let It

Ahmed Aboul Gheit says by installing metal detectors, Israel risking major crisis with Arab and Muslim world

Jack Khoury
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Worshippers praying outside the Temple Mount on July 14, 2017 in protest of metal detectors placed at the entrance by Israeli security forces after last week's deadly attack.
Jack Khoury

The Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that Jerusalem is a red line and that Israel is playing with fire, endangering the entire region. 

Aboul Gheit, who was speaking against the backdrop of the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians over the Temple Mount, said in the statement that Arabs and Muslims would not allow Israel to cross that line. He did not specify what they would do to stop Israel.

He said that the Israeli government risked igniting a major crisis with the Arab and Muslim world with its decision to install metal detectors at the entries to the Temple Mount.

Israel Police installed the metal detectors after a shooting attack on July 14, in which two police officers were murdered and another was moderately wounded. The three terrorists, all residents of the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, were shot to death. The police then ordered the Temple Mount’s closure to the pulic and announced the cancellation of Friday prayers, the first such cancellation in years.

There has been unrest in East Jerusalem and the West Bank ever since. 

A Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli security in the West Bank on Saturday, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported. The protester was shot in the chest in the West Bank town of al-Eizariya and was rushed to a Ramallah hospital, and later died of his wounds.

The Israeli army said it was unaware of any causality in the area, though it noted a Palestinian was wounded not far away on Friday trying to build a makeshift bomb in his house.

Another Palestinian was lightly hurt by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli security forces in the Qalandiyah refugee camp.  Four people were wounded by rubber bullets in clashes near the West Bank Palestinian village of Kafr Qaddum. An army officer who was lightly injured by a stone thrown by a Palestinian was taken to the hospital. 

Following Friday’s terror attack in the Halamish settlement, which claimed the lives of a father and his two adult children and wounded his wife, Israel deployed thousands of additional troops across the West Bank. An IDF official told Haaretz on Saturday that the army is on high alert in wake of the recent events in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Israel over the Temple Mount crisis and what he described as excessive use of force against Muslim worshipers.

"Closing Temple Mount for days and imposing restrictions on Muslims is unacceptable," Erdogan said. "I call on the international community to intervene."