In a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Friday’s shooting attack on the Temple Mount, the official PA media agency Wafa reported.
“The [PA] president expressed his strong rejection and condemnation of the incident that took place at the holy al-Aksa Mosque,” Wafa report stated, referring to one of the mosques on the Temple Mount. “He affirmed his rejection of any violent incident [carried out] by any party, especially in houses of worship.”
The PA president rarely condemns attacks on Israelis.
In the early morning on Friday, three Arab-Israelis from Umm al-Fahm carried out a shooting attack
on the Temple Mount, killing two Israeli police officers
and injuring three others, Police said.
Abbas also expressed his disapproval of Israel’s decision to close the Temple Mount and called on Netanyahu to reverse it.
Following the attack this morning, Israeli security forces evacuated and closed the Temple Mount, effectively canceling Friday prayers at the holy site. Thousands of Muslims traditionally pray at the Temple Mount on Friday.
Police said the Temple Mount will remain closed for an undisclosed amount of time until the conclusion of an investigation into the attack, which they called “extreme and exceptional.”
Netanyahu told his Palestinian counterpart that there will be no change to the status quo on the Temple Mount, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
A number of Palestinian leaders on Friday expressed concerns that Israel would exploit the attack to make changes to the status quo on the Temple Mount.
The Prime Minister also called for all parties to calm the situation in Jerusalem.
Abbas and Netanyahu last spoke in November after the PA sent firefighters to Israel to help Israeli firefighters put out fires around the country.
According to Wafa, Abbas’s office spoke with Jordanian officials in an effort to reopen the Temple Mount. Jordan is considered the custodian of the Temple Mount.
Fatah, the dominant political party in the West Bank, on Friday called on Muslim worshipers to defy the closure of the Temple Mount
and pray there.
“Set out for the al-Aqsa Mosque,” Fatah said on its official Facebook page. “We call on our people to go the al-Aqsa Mosque, pray there, and break the Israeli siege that aims to change the historical sites of the holy city and judaize them.”
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammed Hussein also called on worshipers to go to the Temple Mount and said that Friday prayers there have not been canceled there since 1967.