Saudi and UAE condemn Israel over Palestinian clashes at Al-Aqsa

Foreign ministries of the two countries say they 'strongly condemned' the clashes and potential evictions of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood; Turkey, meanwhile, accused Israel of 'unleashing terror' on Palestinians
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Saturday condemned Israel's plans to evict Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers, following a night of violence in Jerusalem.
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  • Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque late on Friday.
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    עימותים בהר הבית
    עימותים בהר הבית
    Protesters and police during clashes on Temple Mount
    (Photo: AFP)
    The clashes at Islam's third holiest site and around East Jerusalem, which injured 205 Palestinians and 17 police officers, came amid mounting anger over the planned evictions.
    "Saudi Arabia rejects Israel's plans and measures to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and impose Israeli sovereignty over them," the kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya.
    The UAE, which normalized relations with Israel last year, "strongly condemned" the clashes and the potential evictions, in a statement by the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa al-Marar, and urged Israeli authorities to reduce tensions.
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    חתימת ההסכם עם איחוד האמירויות
    חתימת ההסכם עם איחוד האמירויות
    Signing of Abraham Accords last year in Washington between Israel, UAE and Bahrain
    (Photo: GPO)
    In the statement, carried by state news agency WAM, Marar stressed "the need for Israeli authorities to assume their responsibilities - in line with international law - to provide necessary protection to Palestinian civilians' right to practice their religion, and to prevent practices that violate the sanctity of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque".
    The UAE and Israel agreed to normalize ties last year as part of a U.S.-brokered agreement.
    Saudi Arabia, Islam's birthplace, has long championed the Palestinian cause and shunned official contacts with Israel. Riyadh quietly acquiesced to the so-called Abraham Accords, but stopped short of endorsing them.
    In November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, in the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader.
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    עימותים בהר הבית
    עימותים בהר הבית
    Israeli riot police during clashes on Temple Mount
    (Photo: Reuters)
    In the meantime, several Turkish officials also criticised Israel and accused it of unleashing "terror" on Palestinians, while a Foreign Ministry statement urged Israel to "immediately end its provocative and hostile stance and act with reason".
    "Shame on Israel and those who keep silent in the face of disgraceful attacks," Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter late on Friday. "We call on everyone to stand up against the policies of occupation and aggression of this apartheid state," he said.
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