Today marks the 54th anniversary of the tragic fire that befell Al-Aqsa Mosque. On 21 August 1969, the mosque was set ablaze by Jewish extremist Michael Rohan. The destructive act resulted in the burning of the eastern wing of the Qibli Mosque and the minbar of Sultan Salah Al-Din, as well as other segments of the sacred site.
Since that fateful day, successive Israeli administrations have consistently and systematically engaged in efforts to undermine the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They have conducted excavations beneath and in its vicinity, endangering its structural integrity, and have embarked on a campaign of daily incursions by members of the Israeli government and settlers under the direct protection of the Israeli military. These actions, aimed at imposing an irreversible reality and altering the historical and legal status quo, seek to spatially and temporally divide the mosque.
The General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, while vehemently condemning the continuous violations committed by the Israeli occupation authorities against both Christian and Islamic holy sites, most notably the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque, firmly asserts that the entire Al-Aqsa Mosque is a place of worship designated solely for Muslims. It staunchly rejects and condemns any endeavor that undermines Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state, along with its sacred sites. It also rejects any unilateral actions that may impact the legal standing of Jerusalem, including any challenges to the Hashemite guardianship over the Islamic and Christian sanctuaries.
The General Secretariat calls upon the international community, including the United Nations and UNESCO, to urgently intervene in order to halt the ongoing violations committed by Israel, the occupying power, against Jerusalem and the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque. It urges these bodies to prevent any attempts to alter the established legal and historical status of the mosque. The statement also pays tribute to the resolute steadfastness exhibited by the people of Jerusalem and the Palestinian populace, as well as their leadership, in their valiant response to the transgressions of the Israeli occupation and their unwavering defense of Islamic and Christian sanctuaries.