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Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters over the issue of holy sites have provoked a wave of condemnation in the Arab press for Israel’s behavior.

On Sunday several Palestinians were arrested after Israeli security forces entered one of Islam’s holiest sites, the al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. The incident followed clashes in the West Bank town of Hebron on Friday over Israel’s decision to list two disputed shrines as heritage sites.

The Palestinian press painted Israel’s actions as a deliberate attempt to escalate conflict in the region. Newspapers in the Middle East condemned what was perceived as a concerted effort to oppress Islamic identity and set back the peace process.

In Israel, one editorial acknowledged that the decision to list the disputed shrines may have been a “tactical mistake”, while another commentator attacked the US response to the issue.

EDITORIAL IN PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS

The fresh Israeli aggression against the sanctity of the al-Aqsa mosque, and the attacks on worshippers by the Israeli security apparatus, represent the latest in a series of Israeli escalations over the past few weeks… they show that [Israel] is determined to escalate and even expand the conflict.

AYMAN ABU-NAHIYAH IN PALESTINIAN FILASTIN

The Judaization of Hebron… is a prelude to the Judaization of the al-Aqsa mosque and the rest of Palestine… this will include the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the seizure of their properties.

TALAL AKWAL IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

The US silence shows that ongoing attempts to resume negotiations have stalled and that those might have to wait until after a new Palestinian intifadah or even war.

EDITORIAL IN EGYPT’S AL-JUMHURIYAH

Israeli plans to Judaize the al-Aqsa mosque and other occupied Islamic places are being implemented without any respect to religious or man-made laws… these extremely racist practices will not halt… until Arab and Islamic countries have the teeth to enforce international law.

EDITORIAL IN SAUDI AL-JAZIRAH

The Israelis are working incessantly to change everything in Palestine and give it a Jewish aspect in a bid to wipe out Arab and Islamic identity… meanwhile, Arabs and Muslims are preoccupied [with their own affairs] while the Palestinians are preparing to fight each other.

EDITORIAL IN IRAN’S AL-VEFAGH

Israel’s plan to swallow Palestine has reached a peak… its project is to wipe Palestine from the map… an escalation rather than a settlement is looming in the region.

EDITORIAL IN SYRIA’S AL-BA’TH

The Israeli occupation of holy sites and the symbols of Palestinian heritage is part of a comprehensive Israeli war to Judaize the Palestinian areas and eliminate their Arab and Islamic identity.

OFIR HAIVRI IN ISRAEL’S YEDIOT AHARANOT

The [US] State Department spokesman Mark Toner has condemned the inclusion of the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb in the list of Jewish heritage sites… the State Department did not bother to demand details… the way the matter was dealt with… is not only amateurish but could also have disastrous implications for an explosive region like ours.

EDITORIAL IN ISRAEL’S JERSULALEM POST

The Jewish people’s historic connection to the sites in question does not require cabinet approval to be deemed legitimate… the [national heritage] list could have been left ambiguous… still, if [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu made a tactical mistake, the immediate Palestinian resort to violence was deliberate and inexcusable. BBC

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