Abbas twice condemns deadly attack on Jewish worshipers in Jerusalem synagogue

"The presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshipers in their place of prayer and condemns the killing of civilians no matter who is doing it," PA president's office says.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority condemned the Har Nof terror attack twice on Tuesday, while Hamas and other Palestinian groups welcomed it as a “natural response to Israeli crimes.”
Mahmoud Abbas’s condemnations came after heavy pressure from US Secretary of State John Kerry, who phoned the PA president on Tuesday for the second time this week.
Shortly after the attack, Abbas’s office issued a statement in which it said that the PA presidency “condemns the killing of all civilians by any party, as well as the attack in a synagogue in West Jerusalem.”
The statement also called for an end to “incursions and provocations by settlers against the Aksa Mosque,” and accused “some” Israeli ministers of incitement.
But after receiving a phone call from Kerry, Abbas chaired a “security meeting” of Palestinian officials in Ramallah, where he publicly condemned the Har Nof attack.
In a televised statement, he said: “We condemn the incident that took place at a synagogue in Jerusalem and which resulted in the killing of a number of Israelis. And while we condemn this act, we also condemn the assault on the Noble Sanctuary [Temple Mount] and all holy sites and the torching of mosques and churches.”
Meanwhile, some senior Fatah officials blamed Israel for the recent escalation of tensions.
Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub told AFP that the Israeli Right bore responsibility for plunging the region into a “religious war.”
Other Fatah officials refused to condemn the attack, saying it was a “natural response to Israeli crimes and assaults on the Aksa Mosque.”
The Fatah-affiliated Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group in the Gaza Strip welcomed the attack and called for an intifada in Jerusalem.
The PFLP said the Har Nof attack had come in response to Israel’s “arbitrary measures in the West Bank, especially assaults on the Aksa Mosque.”
The group described the attacks as a “heroic operation.”
Initially the PFLP claimed responsibility for the terror attack. However, spokesmen for the group later denied responsibility.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, too, welcomed the attack and denounced Abbas for condemning it.
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, described Abbas’s denunciation as “national incompetence and political adolescence.”