Arab League Threatens 'Untold Consequences' over Temple Mount

Arab League's deputy chief calls for international, Arab pressure to ensure Jews remain unable to pray at their holiest site.

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Jewish man on the Temple Mount
Jewish man on the Temple Mount
Jews on Temple Mount - a red line?

The Arab League warned Sunday that Israel has reached a "red line" after fresh clashes in Jerusalem, urging international pressure to stop what it branded "violations" in the holy city.  

Arab riots around the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site - which also houses the Al Aqsa mosque compound - as well as the attempted assassination of leading Jewish Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, prompted Israel on Thursday to close the site for a day. 

The Temple Mount has been the focus of attempts by Arab and Islamist groups to prevent Jews from visiting their holiest site, using intimidation and violence. Israeli police have responded time and again with riot control measures and arrests in an attempt to quell the violence.

Jews are forbidden to pray on the Mount, in what activists say amounts to capitulation to Muslim pressure by the Israeli government. Arab and Muslim leaders often refer to Jewish visitors as "settlers," and characterize their visits as attempts to "storm" the Al Aqsa mosque, despite the peaceful nature of the visits and the fact that Jews do not attempt to enter the mosque.

On Sunday Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Hilli added his voice to recent Arab condemnations over security measures at the site, saying that "Israel has reached a red line,"  in front of an assembly of the 22-member bloc's delegates. 

He called on Arabs and the international community "to put a stop to these practices by the Israeli occupation authorities in Jerusalem".

"Touching Jerusalem will lead to results with untold consequences," he added.

Jewish campaigners have long pushed for equal prayer rights on the site, and on Sunday, Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin visited the compound and called for Jews to be allowed to pray there despite the heightened tensions over its status. 

He was met with protests from Muslims crying "Allahu akbar" (God is greater).

The United States on Thursday urged all sides in Jerusalem to exercise "restraint" in the holy city, and said it was working with Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians to try to restore calm. 

However, Palestinian leaders have been accused of whipping up the recent violence, with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas calling on Muslims to prevent Jews visiting the Temple Mount using "all means necessary."

Jordan's King Abdullah II has also sounded a combative tone, vowing to "confront" Israel to ensure Jews remain banned from praying there.

In stark contrast to the Arab response, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he has no plans to change the status quo, and urged MKs to show "responsibility and restraint" in their statements and actions, to help calm the situation.