Ra’am MK Mansour Abbas has been working with Arab and Jewish leaders in an attempt to calm tensions at the Temple Mount after violent clashes broke out on Friday, he said in an interview with N12 on Saturday evening.
“Everyone who I needed to speak with, I spoke with,” he stated when asked about his role in attempting to prevent chaos from breaking out at the Aqsa Mosque compound, adding that he has been in contact with both the Prime Minister’s Office and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as well as officials in the Arab sector.
“The pictures from the Aqsa compound were extremely, extremely difficult,” Abbas said. “It doesn’t matter now how it started or how it ended. We are working and calling for calm and to give the place the respect it deserves, and to allow people to pray in peace.” He noted that the overlapping holidays of Ramadan and Passover have caused increased tensions.
Asked what would happen between the Ra’am Party and the rest of the governing coalition should the clashes continue, Abbas reassured the public that Ra’am has no interest in bringing down the government, despite MK Mazen Ghanaim’s warning to Bennett in a letter on Friday that he would pull out of the coalition if police activity on the Temple Mount does not cease.
“We have a historic opportunity [as part of the coalition] and we want to use it for good, of course for the Arab sector, but also for the good of Israel’s population in general, and we are doing that,” Abbas stated.
He called for both Jewish and Arab leaders to be careful with their choice of words over the coming days while tensions are high, referring to Joint List MK Ayman Odeh, who earlier this week called for Arab-Israelis serving in Israel’s security establishment to lay down their weapons and disobey orders.
“I think Odeh made a mistake with his words,” Abbas said. “They didn’t do any good for anyone. Arab police officers aren’t about to sit at home and throw away their guns. Let’s be careful, let’s choose our words carefully. We need to get through this tense period of time. There have already been four terror attacks. The Arab sector has condemned this, we don’t want this to continue any longer.”