BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri Friday congratulated the leaders of Arab and Islamic countries ahead of Eid al-Fitr and World Jerusalem Day, calling as he did so for an end to Israeli Judaization of Jerusalem.
In messages sent to the leaders of Arab and Islamic states, Berri stressed the need for unity in confronting strife and wished fellow Islamic and Arab countries stability and progress for the year ahead.
Berri apologized for not receiving guests who congratulated him on Eid given the painful situation in the region and the escalation of Israeli oppression against Palestinians.
The speaker, however, said he had received a number of congratulatory phone calls and telegrams, including from former President Amin Gemayel, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Shiite cleric Ali Fadlallah and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
Berri also spoke about world Jerusalem Day and addressed the Palestinian people, “especially those in occupied Jerusalem who are suffering from the oppression and injustice of the occupying authorities that are trying to empty the city of its Palestinian residents, eliminate or destroy its Arab Islamic and Christian character, and continue in the desecration of its sanctity by forcing entry into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and violating the peace of Islamic graveyards.”
The speaker called on parliamentary institutions in the Inter-parliamentary Union, the Arab Parliamentary Union and regional parliamentary unions to intervene “to end Israeli measures to Judaize Jerusalem.” He also called for ending “measures to seize the identification papers of Jerusalem’s Arabs as well as the digging works taking place beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 18, 2012, on page 2.