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Slams 'aggression' at Al-Aqsa, home demolitions, settlements

Abbas says PA planning steps ‘to confront Israeli escalation,’ fumes at ‘US silence’

Status quo ‘cannot be tolerated,’ says PA president; Ramallah has accused Washington of dragging its feet on promises to the Palestinians since Biden entered office last year

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi (left) sits with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on May 31, 2022. (WAFA)
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi (left) sits with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on May 31, 2022. (WAFA)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Ramallah Tuesday that the Palestinian leadership is planning “steps to confront Israeli escalation,” the PA leader’s office said.

Abbas’s comments during a snap visit by Safadi came in the aftermath of weeks of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, some of them centered around the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque holy site in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Abbas slammed “daily aggression against Al-Aqsa,” as well as home demolitions and the approval of new Israeli settlement units in the West Bank by the Israeli government.

“The continuance of the current situation cannot be accepted and cannot be tolerated,” Abbas said, according to the official WAFA news agency.

Abbas slammed “American silence” and “international impotence” in preventing “Israeli provocations and practices.”

The international community had proven unable “to force Israel to comply with international law,” Abbas told Safadi.

While Ramallah was initially optimistic about the current US administration under US President Joe Biden, the PA has since become frustrated. Palestinian officials say Biden has failed to follow through on key promises, such as reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem and the Palestinian mission in Washington.

Biden is set to visit Israel and the West Bank in the coming weeks, his first trip to the area since he entered office last year.

Safadi was accompanied by Jordanian intelligence director Ahmad Husni. The PA head was flanked by several of his top advisers, including spy chief Majed Faraj and Hussein al-Sheikh, who is responsible for coordination with Israel.

“Israel’s failure to respect international law will plunge the region into a cycle of violence and escalation,” Safadi said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, March 27, 2022, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Over the past week, Palestinian terror groups threatened violence over the annual Jerusalem Day Flag March, which saw some Israeli nationalists chant racist slogans and clash with Palestinians. Others raised Israeli flags at the Temple Mount sanctuary — the third-holiest site for Muslims and the holiest for Jews — during a visit.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have seethed over the past few months. A bloody terror wave has left 19 dead in Israeli cities since late March, the deadliest spike in attacks in years.

Over 30 Palestinians have died in the same period, most during Israeli military raids in the West Bank in pursuit of terror suspects. Many were killed during clashes with Israeli forces or while committing attacks, but at least a few were apparently unarmed civilians. They included popular Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead under disputed circumstances during an Israeli military raid in Jenin.

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