Unveiling of Pilgrims' Road
Unveiling of Pilgrims' RoadHezki Baruch

The Arab League on Monday condemned Israel's opening of the Pilgrims’ Road used by pilgrims during the Second Temple period to bring sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official Wafa news agency reported.

The organization was particularly critical of the participation of US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and US Special Envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, at the inauguration of the road, now underground in a tunnel.

Greenblatt and Friedman’s participation proves the American administration’s absolute bias and full adoption of “these settlement projects in violation of international consensus and legitimacy,” said the Arab League’s Assistant Secretary General for Palestine and occupied Arab lands, Saeed Abu Ali.

Abu Ali warned of the serious consequences that will result from the continued Israeli excavations in Jerusalem, according to Wafa.

He stressed that these Israeli practices constitute a flagrant violation of international law and international humanitarian law, which consider Jerusalem an occupied city and an exclusive Islamic heritage according to the laws of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Arab League official called for an end to all illegal Israeli excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, which blatantly contradict international standards, urging international community to assume its legal, political and moral responsibilities to stop these racist practices.

The 2,000-year-old Pilgrims’ Road passes underneath homes in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, thus angering Palestinian Arabs who view eastern Jerusalem as their capital.

On Sunday, senior PLO official Saeb Erekat launched an unprecedented personal attack on Friedman and Greenblatt for taking part in the unveiling, accusing them of promoting “racist colonial” interests.

He was particularly angry at Friedman, saying he is “not a US ambassador”, but rather, “an extremist Israeli settler”.

On Monday, Erekat again condemned the participation of the US envoys in Sunday’s ceremony, claiming that the tunnel was a project being used by Israeli right-wingers to further Israel's claim on eastern Jerusalem and advance “settlement” growth there.