In phone call with Kushner, Abbas urges US to intervene in Temple Mount crisis
Jack GUEZ (AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke by telephone on Thursday with Jared Kushner, son-in-law and chief adviser to President Donald Trump, and asked the United States to “intervene urgently” in a rapidly escalating crisis over Israel's installation of metal detectors at Jerusalem's Temple Mount holy site.
Abbas told Kushner that the situation is "extremely dangerous and may go out of control" and urged the US to compel Israel to reverse the new security measures, senior PA official Nabil Abu Rdeneh said Friday, according to the Associated Press.
Tensions boiled after police installed the metal detectors at entrances to the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an attack nearby a week ago that killed two policemen.
Palestinians and other Muslims perceived the move as a means for Israel to assert further control over the site, and Palestinians have been refusing to enter the compound holding prayers outside instead, with clashes occasionally breaking out with police.
Abbas held emergency meetings with senior members of his Fatah party on Friday from both the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee after Israel decided overnight Thursday that the metal detectors would remain in place.
The crisis threatened to reach new levels ahead of Friday's prayers, as Muslim clerics urged worshipers to forgo local mosques and converge on Temple Mount in mass protests.
Police said Friday morning that some 3,000 officers had been deployed to Jerusalem and surrounding areas in anticipation of violent clashes, and that men under 50 would be barred from entering the flashpoint compound.
Police also cited intelligence information indicating that "extremist elements" were planning "to cause violent disruptions to the public order, and thereby to threaten the public peace, including the [safety] of those coming to pray at the holy sites and other residents of the area."
At least ten Fatah officials in Jerusalem were arrested by Israeli security forces early Friday morning on suspicion of inciting violence in the city, among them, the head of Fatah’s armed Tanzim wing in Jerusalem Adnan Gaith and Hatem Abd Al-Qader, who holds Fatah’s Jerusalem portfolio.
In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian militant group Hamas called for a day of "rage" on Friday. The group warned earlier in the week that Israel's "aggression" on the compound's Al-Aqsa mosque would be "the spark that ignites the entire region."
The White House said it was "very concerned" about the tensions and called on Israel and Jordan, the holy site's custodian, to work toward a solution.
The US State Department issued a warning on Monday barring employees and their families from visiting the Temple Mount until July 24.
The hilltop compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.
The site has become the site of violent clashes in the past. Palestinians believe that Israel intends to change the status-quo at the site while many Israelis voice frustration over what they see as restrictions on Jewish prayer at the complex.
Netanyahu stressed that the metal detectors were intended to ensure the safety of worshipers and visitors and not an attempt to disturb the fragile status quo under which Jordan is custodian of the site and Jewish prayer is forbidden.
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JK has no business in IL politics. All of this is provocation to claim that Bb is a trouble maker when the goal is to prevent the pal to be forced to negotiate with IL.