The Palestinian Authority has warned against Israeli attempts to “divide” al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) in time and space between Muslims and Jews.
The warning came in response to remarks earlier Sunday by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who emphasized the importance of allowing Jews, Muslims and Christians to celebrate their holidays in Jerusalem.
Palestinian officials believe that Israel is planning to divide the Temple Mount in the same way that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron is divided into both a mosque and a synagogue.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas “warned of the danger of the repeated attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque” during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the PA’s official news agency Wafa reported.
Israel’s “violations cannot be tolerated,” Abbas said, and called on the international community to immediately intervene to stop the Israeli “aggression,” according to Wafa.
PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that Bennett’s statements were completely rejected “and an attempt to legitimize the temporal and spatial division of al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Abu Rudeineh criticized Israeli authorities for allowing Jews to “invade” the Temple Mount “while the mosque’s gates were closed to [Muslim] worshippers.”
The Palestinians, Abu Rudaineh said, will not accept the division of the mosque, “which belongs only to Muslims.”
He described the violence that erupted at the site on Friday and Sunday as “a dangerous escalation,” adding that the Israeli government alone would bear responsibility for the repercussions.
The PA official called on the US administration “to end its silence and stop this aggression that will ignite the entire region.”
He also repeated the demand to the international community to provide international protection for the Palestinians.
Senior PLO official Hussein al-Sheikh also warned Israel against attempting to divide the Aqsa Mosque compound in terms of time and space between Muslims and Jews.
“This blatant aggression against our holy sites will fail,” he said.
Sheikh, who is touted as a leading candidate to succeed Abbas, called on the international community to intervene immediately to force Israel to halt its practices.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also warned against “dividing” the Temple Mount in time and space.
“The entire al-Aqsa Mosque is the property and right of Muslims, and it cannot be divided in any way,” he said in an interview with the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the Palestinian leadership that was scheduled for Sunday night to discuss the rising tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank has been delayed until further notice, Palestinian officials said.
Last Thursday, Abbas announced that the Palestinian leadership would convene on Sunday night.
The PA did not say why the meeting was called off.
But Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior member of the ruling Fatah faction, told the Palestinian news website Safa that the meeting was postponed “due to the Palestinian president’s commitments and priorities.”
Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, confirmed that the planned meeting has been canceled. He said that the PA did not inform him of the reasons behind the decision to delay the gathering.
Several Palestinians criticized the decision, saying it shows that the PA leadership does not care about the “dangerous escalation” with Israel.