ISTANBUL– Malaysia has condemned the recent closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli authorities and the violence against the Palestinian people.

“Malaysia condemns, in the strongest terms, the recent closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 14 by Israeli authorities. Israel’s provocative action constitutes a flagrant violation of the sanctity of Islamic Holy Sites,” said Foreign Minister Anifah Aman at the open-ended extraordinary meeting of the OIC Executive Committee in Istanbul, Turkey Tuesday.

Anifah also said such an action was a serious violation of the rights of Muslims to worship in peace, free from violence, threats and provocations.

“The freedom to worship is a right guaranteed under international law. We must oppose any violation of such rights,” he said.

Afinah reiterated Malaysia’s call for Israel to provide unhindered access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Noting the recent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians on July 21 in the West Bank which resulted in many casualties, Anifah called on all parties to refrain from actions that could further escalate tensions and violence in East Jerusalem.

“The developments in East Jerusalem are extremely worrying. Plans announced by Israel to increase the development of housing units to a rate of over 30% more than in 2016 in East Jerusalem is a clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016),” he said.

Anifah said that Malaysia has urged the UN Security Council to shoulder its responsibility in implementing this historic resolution.

“To allow the resolution to remain unimplemented would mean failure to reverse the negative trend which is threatening the two-state solution,” he said, adding that Malaysia firmly believes that a two-state solution remains the most viable solution for both sides.

“Malaysia also commends and supports the efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah The Second ibni Al-Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Custodian of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem, to restore calm in the holy city,” he said.

“Malaysia would like to reaffirm our resolute support to seek a just, comprehensive and durable solution to the realisation of the two-state solution with an independent State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said Anifah, who said that Muslims should not lose sight of the bigger picture � which is unity of the Muslim population.

Israel cancelled Friday prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque after three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers were killed in a gun fight at the mosque compound.

Al Jazeera TV reported that following the incident, Israeli police cleared the Al-Aqsa Mosque and closed it to the public. It was the first time in decades that the compound was closed for prayers on Friday.

On July 29, after protests from Palestinians, Israeli authorities reopened the mosque after lifting various restrictions which were earlier imposed.

Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the third holiest site in Islam.