Abbas: Closure of al-Aqsa holy site a ‘declaration of war’
“So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” Joel 3:17
Israel’s closure of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an assassination attempt Wednesday, is tantamount to a “declaration of war,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday morning.
Abbas’s remarks came after a suspect in the shooting of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist was killed in a gunfight with the police in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor. Police closed the compound early Thursday out of fear of clashes in the wake of the shooting of Yehuda Glick, who campaigned for Jewish rights on the site, and as Israeli right-wing groups vowed to march on the site.
“This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.
The director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque called the site’s closure unacceptable.
“It is unacceptable that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is paying a toll for the events in Jerusalem,” he said.
“The mosque is a place for prayer and worship and all Muslims have the right to access it,” the director told the Ma’an news agency.
Israeli authorities turned back right-wing Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, who tried to make his way onto the Temple Mount Thursday morning in response to the shooting of Glick, a leader of the Temple Mount Faithful activist group.