Michel Aoun
Michel AounReuters

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday urged Arab nations to come together to “protect” the multi-faith character of Jerusalem, accusing Israel of trying to “Judaize Palestine”.

Aoun called on members of the Cairo-based Arab League to "unite our efforts to preserve the character of Jerusalem, which brings together both Christian and Muslim heritage".

"Is it possible to imagine Jerusalem without Al-Aqsa mosque, and without the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?" asked Aoun, who is visiting Egypt for the first time since his election in October.

On Monday Aoun, a Maronite Christian, met the leader of Egypt's Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, as well as Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Al-Azhar, the highest institution of Sunni Islam in Egypt.

He also held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Aoun was elected president after two years of a political vacuum in Lebanon, during which the parliament 33 times failed to elect a new head of state due to lack of a quorum.

His candidacy was supported by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, which is a powerful force in Lebanon’s parliament.

Hezbollah is also a key member of Aoun’s cabinet, which was approved in late December. The group has two ministers in the cabinet.

Aoun’s comments about Israel’s alleged “Judaization” of Jerusalem are similar to the accusations constantly made by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.

In a meeting with Pope Francis in May of 2014, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas insisted that Israel is "systematically acting to change [Jerusalem's] identity and character, and strangling the Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, with the aim of pushing them out."

Meanwhile, despite the PA’s claims of “Judaization”, particularly on the Temple Mount, it is in fact Jews who are being discriminated against.

The Jordanian Waqf keeps an iron fist on the Temple Mount and its activities; Jews face constant discrimination and violence for visiting the site, and there is a blanket ban on Jewish prayer there.

Muslims and Christians, however, have free reign to worship at and visit the Mount.

AFP contributed to this report.