Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) gestures as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas looks on.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority said on Sunday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s appeal to MK’s to show restraint on the issue of the Temple Mount was a “step in the right direction.”
The PA also called for easing tensions, noting the religious importance of the al-Aksa Mosque to Muslims.
The PA warned that the “provocations and violations by (Jewish) extremists would lead to dangerous consequences on the entire region – something we don’t want.”
A senior Palestinian official said that the PA’s statement came at the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who phoned PA President Mahmoud Abbas last Friday.
The official said that Kerry demanded that Abbas and the PA leadership work toward easing tensions in Jerusalem.
“Kerry requested that President Abbas issue a call for calming the situation,” the official added. “He promised that Washington would also ask Netanyahu to show restraint.”
Abbas, meanwhile, told a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah on Sunday evening that he was seeking calm in Jerusalem before things get out of control.
“We won’t accept any assault on Jerusalem and the al-Aksa Mosque,” Abbas said. “We support calm in Jerusalem.”
Abbas said he was “pained” by the tensions and clashes that took place in recent weeks in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.
“We have said more than once that the al-Aksa Mosque is a sacred place for us and we won’t accept any assault on it,” he added. “We don’t want an escalation. This is our position and we call for calm. We want to maintain the status quo at the Al-Aksa Mosque.”