Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel until it removes metal detectors that were installed recently at the Temple Mount, one of Islam’s holiest sites, after three people died and 200 more were injured during deadly clashes at the site Friday afternoon, according to Reuters.
“I declare the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side on all levels until it cancels its measures at Al-Aqsa mosque and preserves the status quo,” Abbas said in a brief televised speech after meeting his aides, referring to a mosque forming part of the holy site.
Abbas said in a speech that the freeze would stay in place until Israel lifted its stringent measures at Al-Aqsa mosque , which Jews call the Temple Mount, according to the Daily Sabah. On the advice of local police and the IDF, Israel’s cabinet decided to tighten security around the site after a series of violent terrorist attacks, including one that occurred a week ago, when three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site, according to Breitbart.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinians have been battling with Israeli Defense Forces outside the Temple for days to protest the new security measures – including metal detectors that have been installed at the Temple’s entrances. On Friday, three young men were killed when fighting broke out.
Israeli police told the government that “extremist elements” where planning to “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,” according to Breitbart
As a result, Israeli security forces erected checkpoints at main entrances to Jerusalem and blocked several roads leading to the Temple Mount area. Some 3,000 police forces were deployed to Jerusalem’s Old City in addition to five Israel Defense Forces battalions that have been put on standby.
According to Palestinian medical sources, Mohammad Mahmoud Sharef, 17, was shot in the neck in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud. Sharef reportedly and died of his wounds shortly afterwards. The Palestinian reports claimed that the gunfire came from a nearby east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood called Maala Hazeitim. The other casualty was Mohammad Hassan Abu Ghanem, 19. Later, Palestinian media reported a third Palestinian, 17-year-old Mohammad Laffi, was killed in Abu Dis, a town near the border with Israel.
Clashes have erupted across the West Bank. Here’s the Jerusalem Post with more:
“Israel’s Channel 10 reported that a child of eight had died from tear gas inhalation, but that could not be confirmed.
Israeli police also reported disturbances in Ras Al-Amoud, A-Tur, and Wadi Joz, including stone throwing and Molotov cocktails, which resulted in the injury of four police officers.
According to the army, the West Bank checkpoint of Qalandiya as well as Hebron saw the largest riots, with an estimated 600 Palestinians throwing stones at troops at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem and hundreds more in Hebron. Troops responded with tear gas and stun grenades in both cases.
At least 200 Palestinians threw stones at security forces at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, while more demonstrated in the West Bank town of Jericho. A reported 100 others threw stones at Israeli vehicles near the settlement of Tekoa and some 200 others clashed with troops in Qaddum, west of Nablus, and Na’alin, west of Ramallah. Another 100 Palestinians clashes with troops in Beit Ummar, northwest of Hebron.
The Palestinian Maan agency reported that the bodies of both Palestinians were quickly buried on Friday afternoon, out of concern that Israeli authorities would seize them. Maan also reported that Israeli forces raided Makassed Hospital, although the purpose of the raid has not yet been established.”
According to Breitbart, the battles erupted after Palestinian protest leaders, a group that includes top Palestinian government officials, told their followers that the metal detectors were part of an Israeli conspiracy to hamper Muslim worship at the Mount. The site is one of the holiest landmarks in Judaism and Islam.
The protest leaders – not to mention Abbas – apparently ignored the fact that the metal detectors help keep all visitors to the site safe, regardless of their religion.