President Barack Obama meets with Saudi King Salman in the Oval Office
President Barack Obama meets with Saudi King Salman in the Oval Office Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday night phoned President Barack Obama to condemn Israel for what was termed its “grave escalation” on the Temple Mount.

According to the official Saudi Press Agency, during the phone call, the King “expressed, in strong wordings, condemnation and disapproval of the grave Israeli escalation, at Al Aqsa Mosque, in Al-Quds, brutal aggression against worshippers at its plazas and the violation of the sanctity of Islamic sanctuaries.”

The King reportedly called for internationally concerted, serious and expedited efforts to stop this so-called “aggression” and called for intervention by the UN Security Council “to take all prompt measurements to stop violating the sacredness of Al-Aqsa Mosque, protect the Palestinian people and religious sanctuaries [and] awarding the Palestinian people its legitimate rights.”

The White House confirmed in a statement of its own that Obama and the Saudi King had spoken, but would only say the two “discussed regional issues, including Yemen and recent violence and tensions at Jerusalem’s Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount.”

Israel has faced mounting international criticism over the Arab-incited violence at the Temple Mount this past week.

The violent clashes began before Rosh Hashanah, when masked Muslim rioters hurled rocks and fireworks at police on the Temple Mount, as well as firebombs near two entrances to the site.

The clashes continued during the holiday and after it as well, as once again masked Muslim youths gathered around the mosque and threw rocks and other projectiles at police who had entered the compound in large numbers and responded with stun grenades. 

Most of the criticism of Israel came from the Arab world. The Arab League warned against the "Judaization of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israel" and threatened to turn to international legal institutions. Jordan condemned Israel as

Jordan, which has custodian rights over Jerusalem's Temple Mount, had its own criticism for Israel, calling Israeli forces’ defense during an Arab mob riot on the holy site an "attack."

Before his call with Obama, King Salman had appealed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and members of the Security Council for "urgent measures" after the clashes.

The fiercest critic of them all, however, was Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who called for terrorist "martyrs" to prevent "filthy" Jews from visiting the Temple Mount.

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