Arab League: Israeli settlement-building hinders direct peace talks

The Arab League on Tuesday said that continued Israeli settlement-building activity in East Jerusalem would "seriously disrupt" direct negotiations between the US-backed Palestinian Authority and Israel scheduled to begin early next month.

On the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the burning of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, officials from the league's Palestine department noted that "Israel's continued racist practices against the sanctity of Al-Aqsa and the city of East Jerusalem serve to hinder the chances for peace."

The Arab League renewed its call for the United Nations, the UN Security Council and the international "quartet" (the US, EU, UN and Russia), along with all other concerned international organizations, to register their opposition to Israeli violations in the city of East Jerusalem, particularly those directed against the the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The league has also issued a report on recent Israeli aggression against the iconic mosque, which points to ongoing Israeli excavations underneath Al-Aqsa and its environs, the establishment of a Jewish presence in and around the mosque, and direct Israeli interference in the mosque's administration, as well as the Arab and Muslim response to the situation.

According to the report, Israel now has an opportunity to "Judaize" Al-Aqsa, having carried out different excavations in 34 locations within the mosque's precincts–nine locations more than last year–and having allowed extremist Israeli settlers to storm the mosque a total of 36 times.

The report went on to say that a number of Jewish "landmarks" had recently been built around Al-Aqsa, including the "Chapel of the Islamic Museum" and the "Pride of Israel" synagogue.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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