UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he fears recent inflammatory statements will increase tensions in Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
The Israeli delegation to the UN had complained to Ban over his failure to speedily condemn comments Abbas made last week on Palestinian television, in which he said Jews were sullying the Temple Mount, the location of the al-Aqsa Mosque, “with their filthy feet.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the recent surge in Palestinian violence in Jerusalem was “of course joined by the choir, by the Palestinian Authority, with incitement and even anti-Semitic expressions regarding the prohibition for Jews with their ‘filthy feet’ to visit the Temple Mount and other over-the-top expressions.”
On Thursday last week, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold also slammed Abbas’s comments.
“Today the world is divided between those trying to undermine religious coexistence and those trying to protect it,” Gold said in a statement. “By saying that the ‘filthy feet’ of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount desecrate it, Mahmoud Abbas has now clarified on which side he stands.”
In a Ramallah address Wednesday, Abbas said, “We will not forsake our country and we will keep every inch of our land. Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.”
He added: “The al-Aqsa Mosque is ours. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours as well. They have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet; we won’t allow them to do that.”
The Temple Mount saw repeated clashes last week, after a police raid at the site uncovered a cache of pipe bombs, firecrackers and stones, apparently stockpiled as part of a plans for protests during the Jewish new year holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which began last Sunday.