Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah visited al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount on Monday.
At the shrine on a hilltop compound revered by both Jews and Muslims, Hamdallah declared that “there will not be a Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Hamdallah was joined by the Palestinian Authority governor of Jerusalem, Adnan al-Husseini, and other Palestinian security officials, according to news outlet Israel National News.
The Temple Mount has been a source of friction between Israel and the Palestinians in recent months, with Palestinians frequently clashing with police in protests against Jewish visitors to the compound and Israeli politicians calling for Jews to be allowed to pray there.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon granted Hamdallah and other Palestinian officials permission to travel to the Temple Mount. But Netanyahu alleged on Sunday that rising tensions between Muslim worshipers and Israeli security forces were the fault of “the Palestinian Authority, [President] Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas, and personnel from Islamic organizations.”
Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials have accused Israel of trying to Judaize the site, with Abbas denouncing “incursions by extremist settlers” and joining Hamas in calling for Palestinians to defend it.
The visit by Hamdallah comes as the city continues to experience near-daily protests and incidents of violence in East Jerusalem, including a terror attack last Wednesday in which a Palestinian man plowed his car into a crowd of people near a light rail stop, killing two people including a three-month-old girl.
Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian teen, who was also a US citizen, in the West Bank over the weekend after he allegedly attempted to hurl a Molotov cocktail at traffic on Highway 60, sparking more riots.
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 conflict, Operation Protective Edge.
Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this report.