PA President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all contact with Israel on Friday after new security measures were installed at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. President Abbas said that contact will only be reinstated once Israel removes the metal detectors and retracts the extra security measures at the Temple Mount.
Israel yesterday removed metal detectors from entrances to the Temple Mount compound, which houses the Al-Aqsa mosque – the third holiest site in Islam.
President Abbas said on Sunday that the freeze includes security coordination between the PA and Israel, however Israeli defence officials maintain that the halt is symbolic and that security cooperation is continuing by telephone.
The Palestinian Authorities security forces and the IDF have been working closely over years to stop terror attacks and other violence.
The Palestinian president’s remarks are seen as highly exceptional considering his past position that such coordination was sacrosanct.
The Palestinian leader has also called on Hamas to use this situation in order to invoke Palestinian national reconciliation by rallying around the cause of Temple Mount and reconcile with his own party, Fatah.
Abbas has said that he would give up to $55 million to support Palestinians in East Jerusalem and has called on all Palestinian employees to donate a day’s earning. He has also called upon numerous other heads of state in the region including Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to help put pressure on Israel to remove the security measures.