PA's UN observer Riyad Mansour
PA's UN observer Riyad Mansour Reuters

The Palestinian Authority (PA) complained to the United Nations on Wednesday over Israel’s actions at the Temple Mount.

Kol Yisrael radio reported that the PA’s observer in the UN, Riyad Mansour, said he expects the UN Security Council to prevent Israel’s “illegal activities” at the Temple Mount.

A statement posted on the website of the PA’s mission to the United Nations said that the PA was “particularly concerned by the increasing incursions by Israeli extremists and political leaders, including government officials, on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.”

“These incidents provoke Palestinian and other Muslim worshippers and often lead to clashes, in which Palestinian civilians are injured, tear-gassed and detained,” the statement said.

The PA statement also denounced the recent debate in the Knesset on Jewish access and Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, where Jews are often forbidden from praying, harassed and arrested.

“Such actions with regard to this highly sensitive area provoke the Palestinians and may also be perceived as serious acts of incitement in the wider region,” it charged. “Moreover, these actions undermine the current negotiations process, threatening the prospects for peace.”

“These recent actions are indicative of a strategy aimed at altering the legal, demographic, physical and cultural character of East Jerusalem. Such actions are clearly prohibited under international law. House demolitions, evictions, land expropriation and the revocation of residency rights of Palestinian Jerusalemites are also on the increase,” claimed the PA statement.

“Palestinian land in East Jerusalem has been expropriated since 1967. In the same period, the residency status of more than 14,000 Palestinians has been revoked by Israel,” it continued.

“Israel also continues to construct settlements in East Jerusalem in violation of international law and in defiance of the international community’s repeated calls for ending such illegal acts,” the PA said, adding, “Since the resumption of peace talks last July, Israel announced construction plans for more than 5,000 new settlement units in Palestinian neighborhoods in the city.”

“The question of East Jerusalem is a crucial permanent status issue. A sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all is a core requirement for the achievement of a just and lasting peace.”

The restrictions on Jewish prayer at the compound are due to Muslim pressure. Israeli police, in an attempt to appease the Muslim Waqf which was left in charge of the compound after the 1967 Six Day War, ban Jews from praying or performing any other form of worship.

Police sometimes close the Mount to Jews altogether in response to Muslim riots - for days or weeks at a time - despite evidence that such violence is usually planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.

Meanwhile, Mansour told Kol Yisrael radio that his appeal to the UN had not broken the PA’s promise that it would not turn to international institutions during the current round of peace talks with Israel.

In fact, he claimed, it was the Israelis who are trying to sabotage the efforts of U.S. Secretary of John Kerry through their “acts of provocation on the Temple Mount.”

In response to the Knesset debate about the Temple Mount, the Arab League discussed the possibility of filing a complaint to the UN Security Council over alleged “Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa compound.”

Jordan also denounced the move, and its Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur warned that his country might review a 1994 peace treaty with Israel over the Knesset discussion.