Abbas phones Netanyahu, demands Temple Mount reopen for Muslim worshipers

Abbas made a rare phone call to Netanyahu, demanding he cancel the decision to close the Temple Mount to worshipers following a deadly terror attack on the site.

In an unusual move, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas initiated a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday in light of the fatal terror attack at the Temple Mount complex that morning, which claimed the lives of two young Druze policemen.

Earlier in the day, after the attack, Netanyahu held an emergency security meeting, where it was decided to close the Mount. On Fridays, the site is open for Muslim prayer only.

In the phone conversation, Abbas reportedly demanded that the decision to close the Mount to worshipers be canceled.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Abbas condemned the terror attack, while Netanyahu “made it clear that Israel would take all necessary actions to maintain security on the Temple Mount, without changing the status quo.”

Senior Palestinian sources said the call to the Israeli prime minister followed “significant pressure” from the U.S. State Department and Jordan on the Palestinian leader, Israel Hayom reported.

Fatah Urges ‘Arab Brethren’ to Oppose Israel

Osama al-Qawasme, a spokesperson for Abbas’s Fatah faction, condemned Israel’s reaction to the shooting, Times of Israel reported.

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“What is going on at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings is very dangerous and an attempt to exploit what happened to carry out an Israeli plan prepared in advance, similar to what happened in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron,” he charged. “We completely reject this and will not it pass in any way.”

Qawasme called on all “Arab brethren to work immediately in all directions to counter the Israeli scheme,” the Times said.

No organization has claimed responsibility to date, although Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack.

Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for the Islamic terror organization, issued a statement saying, “The attack in Jerusalem is a natural response to Israeli terrorism and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, and it confirms the commitment to the intifada and the unity of our people.”

By: World Israel News Staff