Following Friday’s ceasefire in the 11 day war between Israel and Hamas, Palestinian National Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas stated the ceasefire should require restriction of Jews from visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Stating his demands in two separate meetings with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry of Egypt and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi of Jordan, Abbas also pushed for the PA’s inclusion in any international plan for the reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza Strip.
With both foreign ministers visiting the de-facto capital of the PA, Ramallah, ahead of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s tour through Jerusalem, Ramallah and then Egypt and Jordan, both ministers relayed their nations’ allegiance with the PA against Israel.
In a Tuesday meeting with Safadi on Tuesday, Abbas stated that Friday morning’s ceasefire must include “stopping attacks and incursions by extremist settlers, backed by the Israeli occupation forces, on Al-Aqsa Mosque and on our people in the West Bank.”
Safadi relayed a message from Jordan’s King Abdullah to Abbas declaring Jordan’s “support for ending the Israeli aggression on the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the holy sites.”
“Palestinians regularly refer to visits by Jews to the Temple Mount as ‘incursions,’ in which the Jews ‘storm’ the Temple Mount. The visits resumed on Sunday after a three-week pause” following Friday’s ceasefire, reports the Jerusalem Post.
Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Abbas, Safadi stated “escalation in Palestine won’t stop unless Israel halted its illegal measures and assaults on Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Abbas additionally praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi for his commitment of $500 million in aid to the Gaza Strip which was relayed to Abbas through Foreign Minister Shoukry in a Monday meeting.
Prior to meeting with Blinken, Abbas asserted the PA’s commitment towards working with the US and the rest of the Middle East “Quartet” (which includes the EU, UN and Russia) towards facilitating the peace process between Israel and Palestine on the basis of international law.
In a meeting with Abbas on Tuesday, Secretary Blinken announced a reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem which previously effectively served the Palestinian people.
Merged with the newly established US embassy in Jerusalem which was transferred from Tel Aviv in 2019 under the Trump Administration, the US’s dedicated office for Palestine relations was placed under the US’s overall mission to Israel in the new embassy.
“Much of the staff at the historic mission on Agron Street in downtown West Jerusalem continued their same jobs, though under a newly named Palestinian Affairs Unit formed under the larger umbrella of US relations to Israel,” writes the Times of Israel.
President Joe Biden campaigned on reopening the consulate in Jerusalem as well as a mission for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, however, both are highly controversial and face legal difficulties.
“Israeli approval will be required to open a diplomatic mission in its capital, and according to Axios, Netanyahu pushed back on the request, saying he’d prefer if things remain as they are,” reports Times of Israel.
The opening of a Palestinian mission in Washington could turn out to be even more controversial considering the US government has designated the PLO a terror organization and US congressional legislation has barred Palestine from opening up a mission in Washington following the lawsuit which Palestine filed against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
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