By Agence France-Presse
The Arab League condemned Israel’s use of “excessive violence” against Palestinians in clashes on Friday outside a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site, while Egypt called on Israel to exercise reason.
Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit “condemned the Israeli security forces’ excessive use of force and live bullets against unarmed civilians”, said the Cairo-based organisation’s spokesman, Mahmoud Afifi.
“Current tensions open the door for further escalation in general amid growing Palestinian, Arab and Muslim anger over the violence and the new measures taken by the Israeli authorities,” he said.
Three Palestinians were killed during clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians around Jerusalem’s Old City and in the occupied West Bank over new security measures at the site in the Holy City.
Egypt’s foreign ministry urged Israel to immediately stop the violence and to exercise “reason to prevent the situation from deteriorating into a dangerous and difficult quagmire”.
Friday’s unrest came after Israel decided not to order the removal of metal detectors erected at entrances to the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an attack a week ago that killed two policemen.
In anticipation of protests on Friday, Israeli police barred men under 50 from entering the Old City in annexed east Jerusalem for the weekly prayers on the Muslim day of rest.