Church leaders & Rights group: Israeli Actions undermining safety of worshipers are unacceptable

Jerusalem /PNN/

The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem today expressed concern over the recent developments in occupied East Jerusalem, particularly at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and said that actions undermining the safety of worshipers and the dignity of the Palestinians who are subject to eviction are unacceptable.

“We the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem, are profoundly disheartened and concerned about the recent violent events in East Jerusalem. These concerning developments, whether at the Al Aqsa Mosque or in Sheikh Jarrah, violate the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and of Jerusalem as the City of Peace. The actions undermining the safety of worshipers and the dignity of the Palestinians who are subject to eviction are unacceptable,” they said in a statement.

“The special character of Jerusalem, the Holy City, with the existing Status Quo, compels all parties to preserve the already sensitive situation in the Holy City of Jerusalem. The growing tension, backed mainly by right-wing radical groups, endangers the already fragile reality in and around Jerusalem,” said the church leaders.

“We call upon the International Community and all people of goodwill to intervene in order to put an end to these provocative actions, as well as to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

Rights group calls for an immediate end to Israel’s escalation violations against Palestinians in Jerusalem

For its part the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said it was “greatly concerned” by the news that Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque and started brutally attacking Muslim worshipers, calling for an immediate end to Israel’s escalating violations against Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

“For more than a week, the Israeli forces have carried out systematic attacks on Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which is threatened with eviction. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters or by severe beatings at the hands of the Israeli forces who also arrested other Palestinians,” it said in a statement.

Today at dawn, the Israeli forces escalated their aggressive movements in Jerusalem and stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque (the third holiest place for Muslims in the world) in large numbers. The forces besieged hundreds of worshipers inside the mosque and showered them with gas canisters and sound bombs leaving hundreds of them wounded.

The Israeli forces abducted several of the wounded while paramedics were trying to transport them from inside Al-Aqsa Mosque to nearby hospitals for treatment. One paramedic was severely beaten while on duty by Israeli soldiers.

“Israel’s escalation of attacks in Jerusalem is part of a long-term policy to change the status quo in the city, displace the Palestinian population and replace them with Israeli settlers, and take over the city’s lands by approving illegal settlement projects,” said Euro-Med Monitor.

“The Security Council, in its meeting later today, should discuss the situation in Jerusalem and take a decisive position that protects the Muslims’ rights to freedom of worship, condemns Israel’s violent attacks on Palestinians, and affirms the necessity for Israel to preserve the status quo in Jerusalem and stop their prejudice against the religious status of Islamic holy sites in the city,” it added.

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