Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent an urgent message to the United States Sunday, asking the administration to stop “Israeli escalations” in East Jerusalem.
According to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas emphasized what he described as “incursions by extremist settlers” into the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Abbas warned that Israeli actions around holy sites would lead to a dangerous and uncontrollable “explosion.”
The missive came as the capital has been rocked by days of unrest in East Jerusalem, as Palestinian protesters have clashed with police in the wake of a terror attack on the Jerusalem Light Rail by Silwan resident Abdelrahman al-Shaludi that left two people dead.
Tensions had already flared over the last several weeks after a number of Jewish families moved into apartments in Silwan, a flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood abutting the Old City.
There have also been a number of clashes between police and protesters on the Temple Mount over the last several weeks, forcing officials to close or restrict access to the holy site.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s ambassador to Israel, Walid Obeidat, warned that any change to the status quo on the Temple Mount could endanger the peace treaty with Israel, Israel Radio reported.
Obeidat made his remarks during a ceremony in Tel Aviv to mark the 20th anniversary of the Israel-Jordan peace agreement.
Jerusalem saw more unrest Sunday, even as police reinforcements streamed to the city and officials vowed to crack down on the unrest.
Demonstrators marching to the Silwan home of Shaludi threw rocks at policemen, who responded with crowd-dispersing methods, according to the Israel Police.
Police arrested several suspects.
The protests came as a second victim of the Wednesday terror attack succumbed to her wounds, raising the death toll to two.
Also Sunday evening, Palestinians threw four Molotov cocktails at an Israeli bus traveling near the city of Halhul, north of Hebron. No injuries were reported.
A Molotov cocktail was hurled at police in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. No injuries were reported in that incident, either.
Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed riots in Jerusalem on “Islamic extremists” and promised to restore order, as police braced for renewed unrest around the funeral of Shaludi, set for later Sunday.
Netanyahu said Jerusalem would be reinforced with some 1,000 policemen, special forces and troops from the Border Police gendarme force, as days of violent protests gave way to fears that a funeral for a slain terrorist would lead to more riots.
“We cannot allow a situation to emerge in which people are hurling stones, throwing Molotov cocktails and disturbing the peace,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday. “This isn’t coincidental. There are Islamic extremist elements that are trying to ignite Israel’s capital, and we will operate with all the force needed, with determination and responsibility, so they won’t succeed. I expect here the full support from all Israeli citizens in order to protect Israel’s capital.”
Tensions have been high since June, when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank. Jewish extremists retaliated by kidnapping and killing a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem, sparking riots. The kidnappings set off a series of events that led to the 50-day Gaza war.
Times of Israel staff and news agencies contributed to this report.
- Israel & the Region
- Israel Inside
- Mahmoud Abbas
- Al-Aqsa Mosque
- Temple Mount
- East Jerusalem
- Jerusalem Light Rail
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- Chaya Zissel Braun
- Jerusalem Police
- Border Police
- Old City of Jerusalem
- Israel Police
- Molotov cocktails
- Beit Hanina
- Abdelrahman al-Shaludi