CAIRO – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas joined Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam, Ahmed El-Tayyeb, and Arab officials in the international conference organized to urge support for Al-Quds [Occupied Jerusalem] and Palestinians following Donald Trump’s recent decision on the city.
This year’s conference aims to underscore the need to “stand up to the barbaric Zionist absurdity of the 21st century, which is supported by international policies… drawn by the Zionist entity and its policies,” Al-Tayyeb told the audience, Al-Ahram reported Wednesday.
Al-Tayyeb expressed disapproval that school curricula in the Arab and Muslim world fail to raise awareness about the Palestinian issue, saying that youth in Israeli settlements are raised through “educational curricula… songs and prayers that constitute hostility, fuel them with racism and hatred of all that is Arab and Muslim.”
He called for declaring 2018 the “year of Jerusalem,” suggesting material and moral support for people of the city, as well as ongoing cultural and media activities to be sponsored by leading Arab, Islamic and civil society organizations.
On the other hand, President Abbas called on Arabs to visit Al-Quds, noting that doing so would not legitimize Israel’s control of the city, and that calls for a boycott would only harm the Palestinians.
“We hope you don’t leave us alone with the occupation,” the Palestinian president told the international audience.
“Visiting Jerusalem does not [mean] visiting Israel or normalization with it.”
Many Egyptian officials including religious leaders from Al-Azhar, the highest institution of Sunni Islamic authority, and Egypt’s Coptic Christian church have for decades refused to travel to Jerusalem in protest of the Israeli occupation.
Since last month’s decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, 30 Palestinians have been killed, 7,000 injured and 1,000 arrested, Abbas said.