(photo credit: REUTERS)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman blasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday night after Abbas said that Jews should be prevented from visiting the Temple Mount and that Palestinians should defend the site from them.
Liberman said Abbas' remarks reveal his attempt to ignite the conflict by using the most sensitive place, the Temple Mount. In a statement released on Saturday night, Liberman accused Abbas and the PA of being behind the disturbances of the residents of east Jerusalem.
The foreign minister said that the remarks also reveal Abbas' "true face" as a "Holocaust denier who speaks about a Palestinian state free of Jews." He said Abbas was and remains an anti-Semite.
"Behind his [Abbas'] suit and the pleasantries aimed at the international community, he ramps up incitement against Israel and the Jews and calls for a religious war," he said. Liberman compared the Palestinian leader to some of the most extreme Islamist groups in the Middle East.
"Abbas has effectively joined the frontlines of extremist Islamist organizations, such as the Islamic State and the al-Nusra front who sanctify religious war," he said.
Abbas called on Palestinians on Friday to prevent Jewish “settlers” from entering the Temple Mount.
Addressing Fatah activists from east Jerusalem in Ramallah, Abbas also called on Palestinians to be present at the Temple Mount at all times to confront the “fierce onslaught on Al-Aksa Mosque, Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre Church.”
He said Fatah should spearhead the effort to stop “settlers” from entering the Temple Mount.
Abbas was referring to continued visits by Jewish groups and individuals to the Temple Mount, particularly over the past month. The visits have sparked protests in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians have been clashing with police forces over the past few months.
Abbas said it was not enough for Palestinians to say that “settlers” have come to the Temple Mount.
“We should all remain present at the Noble Sanctuary [Temple Mount],” he added.
“We must prevent them from entering the Noble Sanctuary in any way. This is our Al-Aksa and our church. They have no right to enter and desecrate them. We must confront them and defend our holy sites.”
Abbas said Palestinians must be united to defend Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem has a special flavor and taste not only in our hearts, but also in the hearts of all Arabs and Muslims and Christians,” he said. “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Palestinian state and without it there will be no state.”
Abbas said he was determined to go to the UN Security Council to seek a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines.