Ramallah, 2 Muharram/15 October 2015 (MINA) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday evening in a speech that “his hand is still reaching for peace,” repeating his administration’s stance that the recent wave of violent upheaval that has gripped the occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel must be extinguished.
Abbas said that while the Palestinian Authority still seeks to deescalate the current upheaval, “peace, security and stability will only be reached when the occupation [of Palestine] ends and an independent state is established with East Jerusalem as its capital., Maan News Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The president added that “we will continue our political, national and legal fight and we will not remain tied to agreements that Israel does not respect.”
At the end of last month, during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Abbas announced that the Palestinian Authority would no longer abide by past agreements made with Israel.
Abbas called upon Palestinians to unite and be aware of Israeli plans to thwart national projects, adding that “we will not hesitate to defend our people and protect them.”
“Offensive attacks are escalating against our people, land and religious sites,” he said, referring to the threat of change in the status quo around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound that sparked the recent upheaval.
Abbas said that he would not accept a change of the status quo concerning the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or any moves that threaten the site’s sanctity as an exclusively Muslim holy place.
Palestinians began to object to new restrictions and schedules at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in August, after Israeli authorities began to impose extra regulations on Palestinians from entering the site, while creating a daily schedule for right-wing Jews to be allowed access to tour the compound.
The compound, venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, is under control of the Jordanian Islamic Endowment group. According to agreements made decades ago between Israel and the endowment, non-Muslim worship is forbidden at the site, however as right-wing groups increasingly called for supporters to flock to the site, particularly during recent Jewish holidays.
Watching the events unfold, Palestinians began to fear that the agreement was being challenged.
While international bodies called for Israeli authorities to restore calm at the compound, the new regulations instead became ever more restricting. Rallies, protests and strikes against the restrictions were called by various Palestinians bodies.
On Oct. 1 suspected Palestinians shot and killed two Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank in what is believed to be an attack motivated by the conflict around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. That evening groups settlers across the occupied West Bank committed revenge attacks in retribution for the shootings.
The next day Palestinian protests erupted in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and have been ongoing for 13 days, in a wave of upheaval many are calling the Third Intifada, while the Palestinian Authority continues to deny escalations have come to that point.
Since the beginning of the month, 32 Palestinians have been shot dead, 17 of which were killed during clashes, with more than a thousand injured. Meanwhile, Palestinians have been responsible for the deaths of seven Israelis killed during the same time period, with dozens more injured in various attacks.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected the claim that the territory has entered a long term uprising, insisting that the wave of violence can be controlled and peace restored. (T/P010/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)