Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa on Thursday announced that the organization's member states approved a $500 million assistance package for Palestinians residing in Jerusalem.
The Arab foreign ministers convened Thursday for a preparatory meeting in the Libyan city of Sirte, ahead of the Arab League summit scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
In a press conference held following his meeting with the foreign ministers, Moussa was asked whether they approved the Palestinian Authority's request for $500 million in aid for Jerusalem. The secretary-general said the request had been granted, and that the decision will be discussed during the summit.
Moussa with Egyptian FM Thursday in Libya (Photo: AP)
The Arab world has been fiercely criticizing Israel's construction in east Jerusalem, and allocated the aid funds as a first measure against it.
Jordan's King Abdullah Thursday morning warned that Israel was "playing with fire" by continuing to build in east Jerusalem and "trying to change the holy city's character." Abdullah added that Israel's unilateral actions in Jerusalem were "illegal and illegitimate and will lead to more crises."
Iranian criticismMeanwhile, Tehran also slammed Israel for continuing construction. Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said Israel's acts "express the occupying and belligerent nature of Zionist regime leaders in respect to the holiest site for Muslims and the other religions."
Mehmanparast called on the Organization of Islamic Conference and Arab League to "seriously deal with the comments made by the Zionist regime leaders... and come up with real solutions to neutralize such approaches."
Egypt and Saudi Arabia also commented on the construction in east Jerusalem; Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit said after Israel's approval of 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo that "Israel's steps were borderline absurd."
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal denounced the decision and said, "This is another example of Israel's lack of responsibility and its determination to prevent the Arab countries and the world from acting towards peace."