Photo: EPA
Palestinian President Abbas
Photo: EPA

Abbas warns Israel over 'religious war'

Palestinian president urges Israel to 'talk about politics, not religion,' days after deadly terror attack as violent tensions continue to spread.

Palestinian President Abbas warned Israel against turning what he said was essentially a "political" conflict into a religious one, reports said Friday.



"There is a political struggle between us, so let’s talk politics. Don’t turn it into a religious struggle, because once struggles like that start, they don’t end,” Abbas was quoted as saying in a fiery Ramallah speech.


Palestinian President Abbas (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Palestinian President Abbas (Photo: AFP)


"This is a crucial time, there's terrorism, religious conflict and violence. It is us who pay the price, the blood of our children," Al Jazeera quoted Abbas as saying.


The Palestinian leader then blamed rightists Jews for fueling the flames of recent tensions, and reportedly said that “You mustn’t come close to our mosques, to our churches. And we won’t come close to your synagogues.”


Netanyahu has frequently blamed Abbas for inciting to terror, a claim recently downplayed by Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen, who said that perceived attacks on the Temple Mount by rightwing Jews were largely to blame.


Meanwhile, two Jewish seminary students were attacked and wounded in East Jerusalem Friday evening. The two were reportedly hit with stones, metal rods and nails near the Beit Orot seminary in Jerusalem's Mount of Olives, days after Palestinian terrorists opened fire in a Jerusalem synagogue and killed four rabbis and a Druze policeman.


The incident came after the weekly Muslim prayers at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque went off without incident Friday despite high tensions in the Holy City, but stone-throwing Palestinians rioted in the West Bank city of Hebron were an IDF outpost was set ablaze.


The IDF said Friday it dispersed 300 stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron without injuries or arrests.


Smaller clashes also took place at two other West Bank locations - Qalandiya and Kadom - also without injuries or arrests, the army said.


Meanwhile, five Hamas activists were arrested by the Palestinian Authority Thursday in the West Bank, according to the Islamic militant group. Hamas spokesman Husam Badran said the Palestinian Authority is "trying to kill the Jerusalem uprising."


The West Bank clashes came amid roiling tensions, mostly over Palestinian claims that Israel wants to change the status quo at a contested Jerusalem holy site.


Netanyahu has denied any plans for the site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews at the Temple Mount, but some Netanyahu allies want the prayers allowed.


No incidents were reported there by Israeli police during prayers on Friday, which for the second consecutive week were open to all Muslim worshippers regardless of age.


In recent weeks 11 people have been killed by Palestinian attackers in five incidents, mostly in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. Five of the Palestinian assailants were killed by security forces.


In response, Netanyahu has ordered a revival of punitive home demolitions - a practice that had largely been suspended since 2005.


Earlier this week Israel demolished the east Jerusalem home of one of the attackers, and on Thursday four more demolition notices were issued in east Jerusalem - including to the families of two cousins who carried out a grisly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday.


The Associated Press, Yoav Zitun and Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.21.14, 23:02
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