Arab League slams Israel assault on E. J'lem Christians

By Mohamed Mahmoud

CAIRO (AA) – The Arab League on Thursday condemned an assault by Israeli forces on Coptic Christian monks taking part in a protest one day earlier in occupied East Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

On Wednesday, Israeli police forcibly dispersed a demonstration by Coptic Christians held in the courtyard of the historic church.

The demonstration had been organized to protest the Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow the monks to renovate the Deir al-Sultan, a Coptic Christian monastery located on the church’s roof.

In a statement, Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Said Abu Ali condemned what he described as the “brutal aggression” against the monks by Israeli occupation forces.

“This assault violates the principle of the freedom of worship — which is guaranteed under international conventions — and shows the true face of Israel’s occupation,” Abu Ali asserted.

Muslim and Christian clerics in East Jerusalem say the Israeli authorities impose tight restrictions on the repair/renovation of Muslim and Christian holy sites.