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Abbas demands 'international protection' during meeting with Kerry

Oct. 24, 2015 6:28 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 25, 2015 1:39 P.M.)
President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the executive committee of the PLO in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sept. 1, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas demanded "international protection" for the occupied Palestinian territory during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman on Saturday.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told Ma'an that Abbas was calling for international protection against "terrorist" acts by Israeli settlers, Israel's "extrajudicial executions," and punitive demolitions of homes belonging to suspected attackers' families.

However, the exact nature of international protection, which Abbas earlier called for on Wednesday, was not specified.

Abbas told Kerry that "a political horizon" must be found that would include resolutions to the long-standing issues of Palestinian refugees, political prisoners, and the future of East Jerusalem, Erekat said.

Abbas also said that the division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound into Jewish and Muslim areas with specific visiting times was not an option -- a position echoed by Jordanian King Abdullah II, who was also present at Saturday's meeting.

During the meeting, the head of Palestinian intelligence, Majed Farraj, provided Kerry with documentation of Israeli violations against Palestinians, including at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Erekat said.

When Kerry asked Abbas about the wave of unrest that has swept the occupied Palestinian territory, including a series of stabbing attacks, Abbas told Kerry that young Palestinians were "angry, hopeless, and seeking independence and freedom."

On Thursday, the Washington-based Al-Monitor reported that the Obama administration was cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority by $80 million as a "message" to Abbas.

The State Department reportedly notified US Congress on Sept. 25 that it would reduce its yearly assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory from $370 to $290 million following Israeli criticism of the "incitement" by the PA in recent weeks.

Discussions over Aqsa

Saturday's meeting came shortly after Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During a four-hour meeting in Berlin on Thursday, Netanyahu told Kerry that the PA must issue a statement clarifying that Israel has not changed the "status quo" at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

"It is time for the international community to tell President Abbas to stop spreading lies that Israel wants to change the status quo or destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque," Netanyahu reportedly said.

Tensions have flared at Al-Aqsa in recent months, with many Palestinians fearing that Israel wishes to renege on a longstanding agreement preventing non-Muslim prayer in the compound.

Jews are currently allowed to visit the mosque compound, but cannot pray there under an agreement made between Israel and the Islamic trust that controls the compound following Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

It is a highly sensitive issue for the Jordanian leadership as well, as Jordan has custodianship rights over Muslim holy places in Jerusalem under its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

Large numbers of right-wing Jews toured the compound during a succession of Jewish holidays in September, in a provocation that triggered much of the unrest that has swept the occupied Palestinian territory this month.

While Netanyahu has repeatedly said that the "status quo" will not be changed, other senior Israeli officials -- including cabinet ministers -- have called for the Islamic holy site to be replaced with a third Jewish temple.

The Middle East Quartet is expected to convene on Friday to discuss issues regarding the holy compound.
Joe Fattal / USA
Even if Israel say yes the UN will probably stay out of sending international observers, to observe or protect the palestinians. Israel has the habit to shoot UN observers, I guess because they might be observing too much. Beside Netanyahu wants to fight the Palestinians forever.
24/10/2015 19:28
from whom? / who is attacking or threatening
him or his "people?"
24/10/2015 19:57
Amin / Netherlands
Why not demanding ending of occupation and colonization? that's the reason of all problems and misery of the Palestinian people.
24/10/2015 20:09
Francine / Ireland
These Arabs are always moaning about something.
24/10/2015 21:53
Francine / Ireland
These ''demands'' or talks are not expected to have any effect, mainly because neither King Abdullah nor Abu Mazen has influence on the Palestinian street, and as a result the wave of terror and rioting will continue.
24/10/2015 21:56
myra / canada
Yes send in the UN troops to protect Palestinians.with regards to lifting the restrictions of Al Aqsa mosque compound the Israeli government absolutely was forced to lift these restrictions.otherwise restrictions with out question would still be in place.
24/10/2015 22:00
Francine / Ireland
cont..... And Johny Islamic extremist terrorist Arab will continue to die for the compensation, that his family will be paid by the PA, from the subsidies donated by EU and Japanese aid.
24/10/2015 22:00
Colin Wright / USA
This must be the 'incitement' Israel keeps going on about. Her victims are squeaking. She objects.
25/10/2015 13:32
Joe Fattal / USA
Abbas why don't you ask the Russians yourself, they are in the area. if you really want a big uproar from the Israelis just ask the Russians.
25/10/2015 16:06
Outlier / USA
The man has no credibility.
26/10/2015 00:14
Fred / UK
Mr Abbas go directly to the UN ask for united nation protection to the occupied territories and hand the UN the keys for the Palestinian Authority as
you reached the end of the road ,you can't help your people anymore.
26/10/2015 19:56
Tibi / Tubas
against their Palestinians stabbing attackers DOES NOT WARRANT "PROTECTION" FOR THE ATTACKERS.
28/10/2015 18:51
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