EDITOR's NOTE: comments of two experts have been added after the 12th paragraph
Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 29 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/
The problem of clash between the Arab and the Orthodox Jews and the Israeli police around the Al-Aqsa mosque cannot be solved by a religious dialogue, because the problem is a continuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, experts believe.
Analysts also do not rule out that it may trigger a new wave of violence in the region.
The Palestinian Delegation to the UN, which has an observer status, urged the UN Security Council to take urgent steps due to worsening of the situation on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, venerated by both Muslims and Jews, RIA Novosti reported.
In recent weeks, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, especially around the third-largest Muslim holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, were the scene of constant clashes between Arabs and the Israeli police and Orthodox Jews.
Last Sunday 18 people were arrested in the clashes.
However, even minor disturbances in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider the capital of their future state, and where the major Muslim shrines are located, can lead to serious complications.
Visiting the Temple Mount in 2000, Ariel Sharon, who later became the Prime Minister of Israel, turned into the intifada that lasted several years.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), one of the largest in the Islamic world, in a statement called on Islamic countries to take steps to protect their holy places in Jerusalem.
However, analysts believe that the conflict caused by the clash around Al-Aqsa is political in nature, although it arose between representatives of different religions.
The Arab experts were unanimous in their opinion that the clashes in Jerusalem are the result of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands.
"The problem is that the Israeli government is trying to gain upper hand over all Jerusalem," Director of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Hasan Abu Nimah, said to Trend in a telephone conversation. "This problem cannot be solved through inter-religious dialogue and negotiation between religious communities, because that arose as a result of policies of the Israeli government."
The issue of East Jerusalem is one of the most difficult in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Both Palestinians and Israelis consider the city their capital.
Analysts and international organizations also fear that the clashes around Al-Aqsa can lead to increased violence and escalate into armed clashes between Arabs and Israelis.
American professor in the religious studies Carl W. Ernst said that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute cannot be solved by religious dialogue, since it is based upon nationalism and dispute over territory.
"Religion is used to harden the positions of opposition between the different parties. If the problem is taken out of the sphere of religion, then it is much more likely that compromise is possible," Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations at the University of North Carolina W. Ernst wrote Trend in an e-mail.
Analyst on the Arab-Israeli conflict Yossi Mekelberg also shares with Ernst, saying that the problem of Jerusalem and clashes around the Al-Aqsa mosque are not a religious problem, because the major point here is to divide the city between Israelis and Arabs.
The problem of Jerusalem is on the one hand religiously but on the other hand it is the capital of Israel and the future capital of Palestinian state, Mekelberg said.
"It is a nationality issue of sovereignty, not only the issue of religion," Senior Research Fellow of the Chatham House British Royal Institute of International Affairs, Mekelberg told Trend in a telephone conversation. "The problem of Jerusalem is a very important issue and so the [Middle East] quartet will be involved in this to encourage the both sides [Palestinians and Israelis] for talks [...], in order to end the violence."
Mekelberg said Jerusalem is a "very sensitive issue, beyond Israelis and Palestinians".
The Analyst on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Yossi Mekelberg believes that the issue of Jerusalem and the clash around Al-Aqsa is not a religious issue, because there is the question of dividing the city between Israelis and Arabs.
As long as that conflict continues, there will always be extremists on both sides who will seize opportunities to advance their own causes by creating situations of conflict, John Voll, professor of Islamic history at the Georgetown University said.
"The international community should encourage all parties in the conflict to be more open to resolving conflicts without resorting to violence," Associate Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown Unversity Voll wrote Trend in an e-mail.
Specifically, important parts of this effort must be that the allies of Israel need to urge Israel not to resort to violent military responses to Palestinian protests, Voll believes.
OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu also warned that "the Israeli police attack against the Al-Aqsa mosque could lead to undesirable consequences."
Radical groupings will advantage from the clash around Al-Aqsa to raise tensions around the world to make thinks worse and so it will be a very big mistake, if it affects the relations between Muslims and Jews around the world, Mekelberg said.
The Director of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, Oraib al-Rantawi said that the clashes on the Temple Mount create conditions for war in the region and for new clashes.
"The events surrounding the Al-Aqsa can lead to a new intifada, and provoke a new wave of aggression in the region between the Palestinians and Israelis," al-Rantawi told Trend in a telephone conversation. "Israel is playing with fire, because a new wave of aggression can spread to the whole Muslim region, based on the fact that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a symbol of the entire Islamic world."
Concerning the role of the Islamic community (ummah) to the situation around the clashes on the Temple Mount, the Director of the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Abu Nimah believes that the ummah is limited only by the statements to which Israel is not paying attention.
In his view, the position of the Islamic Ummah to protect Al-Aqsa is still "sleeping".
On Monday, Syria accused Israel of intending to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, calling his actions "a blatant violation of the sanctity and inviolability of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a part of the plan for Judaizing Jerusalem and destructing the Al-Aqsa Mosque, RIA Novosti reported with reference to the Syrian sources.
The OIC also called on the Muslim Ummah to take a "firm stance to protect their holy places following the intensification of the Israeli attacks against the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem."
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