Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasSTR/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday expressed support for Arab rioters on the Temple Mount who, he claimed, are “protecting the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

At the same time, Abbas claimed he is against violence and that the Palestinians do not wish to harm anyone.

"We are strengthening the hands of our brothers who are defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and despite all that is happening around us, we are clinging to the homeland ... and believe this is our homeland and we will not abandon it," Abbas said.

"We do not attack anyone, but we do not want others to attack us. We want them (the Jews) not to enter the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque ... We say to the Israeli government - stay away from the holy places of Islam and Christianity," he continued

"We said this in the United Nations, and we repeat it, that if Israel will fulfill its obligations we will fulfill ours, but if they do not perform their obligations, then they are responsible for the chaos that is happening here," said Abbas.

"We will not use violence or force. We believe in peace and in a peaceful popular struggle, and that is our right. We will continue in this way as long as there is aggression," he concluded.

The Temple Mount has been a hotbed of Arab riots in recent weeks, but Israel has continued to face international criticism as it has moved to defend its security forces from being attacked by violent Arab mobs.

Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount has been left in the de facto control of the Jordanian Waqf, which has banned Jewish prayer at the site in spite of Israeli law stipulating freedom of worship for all.