Islamic organization condemns Israeli tunnel in East Jerusalem
Organization of Islamic Cooperation slams opening ceremony for 2,000-year-old underground route that led to the Jewish Temple; event put on by right-wing City of David organization included participation by U.S. ambassador and Mideast envoy
An international body of Muslim nations has condemned the opening of an Israeli tunnel that runs beneath the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday called it a "bold and irresponsible move" that seeks "to alter the historic and legal status" of East Jerusalem.
The OIC reiterated its position that East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory.
Israel captured East Jerusalem, home to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites, in the 1967 Six-Day War.
On Sunday, U.S. and Israeli officials attended the opening ceremony for a 2,000-year-old underground route that led to the Jewish Temple, upon whose remains the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built.
U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and U.S. Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt symbolically sledgehammered through a wall to unveil the "pilgrimage road," at an event organized by the right-wing City of David organization.
This is the first time official representatives of the U.S. administration has attended such an event with participation of ministers from the Israeli government, prompting protests from left-wing demonstrators.
Also present were Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara; Likud MK Nir Barkat, a former Jerusalem mayor; Education Minister Rafi Peretz; GOP Senator Lindsey Graham; and Trump supporter Sheldon Adelson and his Israeli wife Miriam.
"Whether there was ever any doubt of the propriety and accuracy...of President Trump recognizing Jerusalem, I think this lays it to rest," Friedman said at the event.
Greenblatt later denied that the event would excaerbate tensions between the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority, calling such claims "ludicrous."
"PA claims our attendance at this historic event supports “Judaization” of Jerusalem/is an act of hostility vs. Palestinians. Ludicrous. We can’t “Judaize” what history/archeology show. We can acknowledge it & you can stop pretending it isn’t true! Peace can only be built on truth," he wrote on Twitter.
Trump broke with decades of American foreign policy to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017, and ordered the government to prepare to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. The recognition prompted an emergency UN Security Council session, whose condemnation of the move was vetoed by permanent member the United States.
In May 2018, the new embassy opened to much fanfare in Jerusalem, with the participation of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.