Abbas: Freeze in contacts with Israel to continue

PA chairman refuses to accept deal with Jordan, demands all security measures on Temple Mount be cancelled.

Gary Willig,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced Tuesday that the PA's freeze on contacts with Israel would continue despite the removal of the metal detectors from the entrances to the Temple Mount.

Israel had placed metal detectors at the entrances to Jerusalem's Old City and Temple Mount after three terrorists stabbed two policemen on the Temple Mount on Friday, July 14. However, the Waqf (the Jordanian trust which runs the Temple Mount) refused to comply with the new security measures, sparking rioting and attempts to harm Israeli security forces.

The PA announced that it was cutting off all contact with Israel, including security cooperation, in response to the placement of the metal detectors. The PA also called for a "Day of Rage" against the security measures, sparking further violence.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah reached an agreement to allow the removal of the metal detectors Monday evening.

The Security Cabinet released a statement that it had "accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies ("smart checks") and other measures instead of metal detectors in order to ensure the security of visitors and worshippers in the Old City and on the Temple Mount.”

However, the agreement was not enough for Abbas, who demanded that all security measures designed to prevent the smuggling of weapons onto the Temple Mount be removed.

"Unless all measures go back to what they were before July 14, there will not be any changes," Abbas said in a speech ahead of a meeting with the PA leadership Tuesday evening.

"All the new Israeli measures on the ground from that date to the present are supposed to disappear," he added. "Then things will return to normal in Jerusalem and we will continue our work after that in relation to bilateral relations between us and them."

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