Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York, September 26, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that Israel must restore the status quo that prevailed on the Temple Mount before the year 2000.
Abbas claimed that Israel was trying to alter the status quo at the holy site. “We have affirmed more than once to the relevant parties that what Israel is seeking to implement now [on the Temple Mount] is inaccurate, incorrect and a distortion of the reality,” Abbas said at a PLO Executive Committee meeting in Ramallah.
“We are currently working with the brothers in Jordan in order to restore the situation that prevailed before 2000 so that we could protect our holy sites from continued assaults by settlers.”
Abbas accused Israel of pursuing “assaults” on Palestinians and the Aksa Mosque. He said that settlers must stay away from villages, cities and lands of Palestinians.
Abbas repeated his appeal for providing international protection for the Palestinians. He said that during his recent trip to the Netherlands, he presented the International Criminal Court with files about Israeli “assaults” and “summary executions.”
Following the meeting, the PLO Executive Committee issued a statement in which it endorsed recommendations by a special committee to “define security, political and economic ties” between the Palestinians and Israel. It was not clear whether the committee had in fact suspended all ties with Israel.
The PLO leaders warned Israel against pursuing “provocations and incursions against the Aksa Mosque and its compound.”
They accused Israel of seeking to change the status quo at the Temple Mount.
The PLO committee called for respecting the sanctity of the entire compound, “with all its 144 dunams [14.4 hectares],” as a holy site for Muslims. It also strongly denounced Israel’s recent security measures in east Jerusalem and Hebron following the spate of terrorist attacks against civilians and soldiers.