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Palestinian FM says Israel reneged on its Amman promises

Palestinians vow to continue fight against Israeli occupation

Ghada Atef, Monday 17 Nov 2014
Israeli police detain a Palestinian protester during clashes in Jerusalem, October 15, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Palestine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement Sunday evening condemning Israeli settlers and Israeli police's storming of Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"As we expected Benjamin Netanyahu retreated from his obligations of preserving the existing situation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque," the ministry said in its statement.

Although Netanyahu's told Jordan's King Abdullah II and US Secretary of State John Kerry a few days ago that he'd keep the situation at Al-Aqsa Mosque as it was before the Israeli occupation began in 1967 – when anyone could enter the mosque, including women and the elderly – Israeli hardliners entered the mosque yesterday with police protection.

In a meeting on Thursday with King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Netanyahu promised to allow Palestinians of all ages to enter Al-Aqsa compound.

But Al-Hayat newspaper reported that Israeli settlers under police protection had entered the mosque and that Palestinians – especially women – had been denied access.

The Palestinian ministry added that these latest actions prove to not only Jordan's king but to the US secretary of state and the entire community that Netanyahu's statements and obligations proof of his lack of credibility, which "he has proved over the years."

The statement called on Kerry to be stricter regarding the situation in order to avoid a "religious war" because of Israel's policies.

However, Yasin Sbeih, a Palestinian activist, told Ahram Online that Palestinians are in an "ongoing battle against the occupation," and that the battle can't be put under a religious cover.

On the other hand, Ismail Radwan, a Hamas official, said in an earlier interview with Palestine Today satellite channel that the current events at Al-Aqsa Mosque might lead to a "third intifada" – or Palestinian uprising.

Radwan also criticised the Palestinian Unity Government for only speaking out against the encroachments but not taking any actual steps to stop them.

On a Saturday speech for the 26th anniversary of Palestine's declaration of independence, Abbas accused Israel of seeking to inflame the tension by storming the holy mosque and trying to divide it.

"Every day we are winning more international support, while Israel gets more refusals for its policies," Abbas said.

Following Abbas statement, Netanyahu in the Israeli cabinet's weekly meeting on Sunday accused Abbas of inciting Palestinians.
"Abbas must stop the incitement that leads to violence," Netanyahu said, according to the Jerusalem Post's news website.

On 30 October, Israeli police closed Al-Aqsa Mosque for its first time since 1967 after a Palestinian on a motorbike tried to gun down an hardline Jewish activist who had long worked to secure Jewish prayer rights in the Al-Aqsa plaza, which led to tension between both Palestinians and Israeli settlers as well Israeli police.

Tensions between the Palestinians and the Israelis has been escalating as Tel Aviv continues its settlement plans in the occupied West Bank.

On November 3, Israel's interior ministry approved the construction for about 500 new settlements in the occupied East Jerusalem.  Netanyahu, one month earlier, vowed to build more than 1,000 new settler homes. 

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© 2010 Ahram Online.