Egypt Independent

Al-Azhar to hold international conference on Jerusalem in September



Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, the world’s highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, said it will be holding an international conference in September, to discuss “with relevant institutions and bodies” the latest Palestinian-Israeli escalation, according to a statement reported by state news agency MENA.

The statement, issued on Tuesday, said that the recent actions of the Israeli occupation authorities in Jerusalem are “are not based on any humanitarian or civilized principles.”

The statement was put out after scholars met with the institution’s Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb.

On Friday, Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and closed it entirely for Friday prayers, citing security concerns. They were later removed on Tuesday.

The closure of Al-Aqsa for Friday prayers, the first such move of its kind since Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967, triggered clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops, leaving six Palestinians killed and hundreds injured.

On the same day, three Israelis were killed by a Palestinian.

Last week. Al-Azhar called on the international community to not remain silent in the face of “the aggressive actions” of Israeli authorities and to liberate the world’s places of worship from political and racist control.

Early Tuesday, Israel removed the metal detectors it had installed from entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and put CCTV cameras instead. Palestinians, however, say they are still not happy with the modified security measures.

The United Nations Security Council held a closed meeting on the violence on Monday, after Egypt, France and Sweden called for the meeting to “urgently discuss how appeals for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported.”

On Monday, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned that the crisis threatens to have “potential catastrophic costs well beyond the walls of the Old City,” Reuters reported.

The Arab League said it plans to hold an urgent meeting with Foreign Ministers on Thursday to discuss the recent Israeli escalations.