Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had fiery words for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Sunday evening after a day in which the Fatah and PLO leader delivered a speech that attempted to deny the ancient Jewish roots of Jerusalem. Abbas told Arab leaders in Doha that visiting “occupied Jerusalem” was the goal of every Muslim, Arab and Christian.
Speaking at the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem on Qatar, Abbas said “The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem.”
He accused Israel of surrounding Jerusalem with “an apartheid wall and a band of settlements in order to isolate the city from its surroundings in the West Bank.” Abbas added that Israel had made it “almost impossible to obtain” permits for PA Arabs to enter the city and said that visiting “occupied Jerusalem” was the goal of every Arab, Muslim and Christian.
“This is a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace,” Israel’s prime minister responded. “The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality.”
“For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People. Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, will continue to be open to believers of all faiths. There is freedom of worship for all and Israel will continue to carefully maintain the holy places of all religions.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas — ed.] knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks, including his baseless and irresponsible claims regarding the al-Aqsa Mosque. The State of Israel expects that one who supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and coexistence and not disseminate lies and incitement. This is not how one makes peace.”
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