As Egypt goes, so goes the Arab world.
The Mufti of Al-Azhar University in Cairo has urged the leaders of the 57 Muslim-majority states meeting in Makkah to withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative in response to the latest Israeli aggression against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Dr Ahmed Al-Tayyeb pointed out that "the pivotal issue of Palestine is known to be the origin of all problems" in the region.
The mufti's statement reminded participants at the Islamic solidarity conference that "the ongoing eradication of the Arab presence in Jerusalem, as part of Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and Judaisation programme, is clear for all to see; it is not happening behind closed doors."
Dr. Al-Tayyeb said that just 20 per cent of historic Palestine is still available for a Palestinian State thanks to international support for what he called the "bleeding wound in the heart of the Muslim Ummah", the occupation of Palestine. He warned delegates about the plans to allow Jewish worship to take place inside Al-Aqsa Mosque by allocating separate access days for Jews and Muslims, as has happened at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. "The demography of the holy city is being changed by the Israelis," he stressed, "including access to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa."
The statement by the head of the oldest and most respected Islamic university in the world carries a lot of weight. Dr. Al-Tayyeb's call to withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative, if nothing else can be done to challenge Israel's aggression, "is the least that the Arab world should do".