“Some” are looking to turn Jerusalem into a city of one religion, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said May 12 in a barely-veiled attack on Israel. He made the comment during the opening ceremony of a conference in Ankara on the status of Jerusalem, organized by the United Nation’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
“It is necessary for all of us to support Palestinians and to protect this cultural heritage. No one can act to destroy Jerusalem’s Islamic identity,” Davutoğlu said…
“Jerusalem is an issue for all of humanity, all Muslims and Christians. No one can take unilateral decisions and implement them there. Taking unilateral decisions means putting dynamite in peace in the Middle East. Jerusalem is our qibla [direction faced by Muslims during prayer]. Without taking care of the Jerusalem issue, there will be no peace in the Middle East,” Davutoğlu repeated.
The conference is taking place as part of the UN’s International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The organization’s Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) issued a statement to the media on May 12 detailing some of the key quotes from the opening day.
Among the remarks UNISPAL saw fit to include in the press release was the description of Israeli “tsunami colonization” by The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs Chairman Mahdi F. Abdul Hadi, who then called for a boycott of Israel.
Qadi and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein told the conference that “Israel was trying to judeize (sic) the city in many ways. Since the first days of the 1967 war and the occupation of Palestinian territory including the city of Jerusalem, Israel had been demolishing and destroying many aspects of the city. The Israelis were trying to marginalize the Palestinian and stamp out their identity. It was trying to surround the Al-Aqsa Mosque by building colonies. Excavation work was another measure used by the Israeli authorities.”
It was apparent to Wasfi Kailani, director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, that “going back to pre-1967 and the legal status of the Western Wall, it used to be 3 metres wide by 22 metres long. It was now some 90 metres by 100 metres long and had been expanded day after day.”
“On the threat of dividing the Mosque, the Deputy of the Knesset every other day encouraged Israeli extremists to break into Al-Aqsa and try to pray, and so to not just visit but also change the status of the Holy Sites,” Kailani added.
For more information on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and other UN bodies that systematically stigmatize Israel, read The Deep UN: Inside the Secret Infrastructure of Hate, written by Ben Cohen for the May 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine.
[Photo: Muslims pray openly in Jerusalem. Credit: David Katz / The Israel Project]