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GCC appeals to US on Zionist minister’s Palestinian remarks

Zionist forces, settlers storm Aqsa Mosque * Kuwait condemns Denmark Quran burning

KUWAIT: The Gulf Cooperation Council said Sunday it had written to Washington’s top diplomat condemning controversial comments from the Zionist entity’s finance minister in which he denied the existence of a Palestinian people. The GCC, in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, called on Washington “to assume its responsibilities in responding to all measures and statements that target the Palestinian people”. The letter from the six-member GCC’s foreign ministers also called on the United States “to play its role in reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting solution” to the Zionist-Palestinian conflict.

The Zionist entity’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, speaking earlier this month, said that the Palestinians did not exist as a people, comments that sparked outrage among Arab nations. The US State Department said they had found Smotrich’s comments “to not only be inaccurate but also deeply concerning and dangerous”. Smotrich is part of Zionist leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government that took office in December.

The GCC ministers also denounced earlier remarks by Smotrich, calling for the Palestinian town of Huwara in the West Bank to be “wiped out”, remarks he later walked back. The GCC, whose foreign ministers met in Riyadh last week, includes the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which normalized relations with the Zionist entity under the US-crafted 2020 Abraham Accords, as well as Saudi Arabia, which has not.

Violence has intensified in the West Bank in recent months, which the Zionist entity has occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967. On Tuesday, the State Department criticized a move by the Zionist parliament to annul part of a law banning Zionists from living in areas of the West Bank evacuated in 2005, calling it “provocative” and in direct contradiction of promises made to Washington at the time. Blinken, appearing before a Senate committee, also reiterated previous US pushback on Smotrich’s comments about Palestinians, saying they do not reflect US values.

Tens of settlers raided the courtyard Al-Aqsa Masque at dawn on Sunday under the protection of Zionist police, forcing Palestinians to leave the mosque and preventing them from performing their prayers. The Islamic Awqaf Department said in a brief statement that dozens of settlers stormed the mosque from the Mughrabi Gate and held provocative tours in its courtyards. Witnesses said occupation forces tightened military procedures in the old town before Fajr payer and obstructed the entry of young men to the mosque to pray to secure the settlers’ incursions.

Late Saturday, Zionist military forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and forcibly expelled Muslim worshippers. In a press statement, the Occupied Jerusalem Governorate said Zionist forces threw sound bombs at worshippers and beat them to push them out of the mosque. It added that the forces also detained two worshippers. The Zionist action prompted many Palestinians in the occupied city of Jerusalem to take to the streets to protest the attack on the Muslims’ holy place and worshippers, the statement noted.

Meanwhile, Kuwait condemned and denounced Saturday the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran and the Turkish flag by a group of extremists in the Danish capital Copenhagen, the foreign ministry said. This new provocative act, which took place in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, risks stirring anger among Muslims worldwide, the Kuwaiti foreign ministry warned in a statement.

It renewed Kuwait’s principled calls on the international community and relevant governments to take swift actions to counter hatred and extremism and to bring to a halt the repeated offenses against Muslim symbols and sanctities. The ministry called for holding perpetrators of such acts accountable and to make sure that the freedom of expression is not used to offend Islam or any other religion. It underlined the need for spreading the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence among all peoples of the world.

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