Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday declared a freeze on all relations with Israel in response to the Temple Mount crisis. "Relations with Israel will be frozen at all levels until Israel commits itself to canceling all its steps against the Palestinian people as a whole and against the city of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular, and to committing itself to preserving the historical and legal situation in Al-Aqsa," he said in his statement.
Abbas continued to say he opposes the new security measures at the entry gates to the Temple Mount, set up by Israel following the deadly terrorist attack that took the lives of two Israeli police officers last week. The added security measures caused a wave of backlash in the Muslim community, with a deadly terrorist attack on Friday in which a teenage Palestinian murdered three family members in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, clashes with Israel Police in which three Palestinian protestors were killed, as well as wide scale protest prayers and riots around Jerusalem.
"We reject to magnetometers, as they are political moves presented in the guise of security measures, whose sole goal is to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque and escape the peace process, turn the conflict from a political one to a religious one and break up the mosque based on time and place.
"We support the residents of Jerusalem and allocate $25 million to do so. We call upon Palestinian businessmen everywhere, the Arab and Palestinian foundations that support Jerusalem, to contribute to Jerusalem," said Abbas. He also appealed to his political foe the Hamas "to overcome the gaps and unite for the sake of our people and supporters around the world. We call upon everyone to stop the media debates and defend our holy places and our national plan, and I call upon Hamas to dismantle its administrative committee in the Gaza Strip and to participate in general elections.
"I am in contact with the King of Jordan, the King of Saudi Arabia, the President of Egypt, the King of Morocco, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Secretary General of the Arab League," Abbas added.
Hamas, for its part, responded to Abbas's announcement by saying that "Abu Mazen's (a common nickname of Abbas's—ed) announcement regarding the severing of relations with Israel are meaningless without the lifting of the restrictions on Gaza, stopping security coordination (with Israel) and an end to reigning in the resistance to the occupation."
A senior Palestinian official spoke to Ynet about the severance of relations with Israel: "The situation in the (Gaza) Strip is on the brink of explosion, and Abbas statement is directed internally, to Palestinian society, in order to release steam. Over the last few days, there's been some wild incitement against the Palestinian Authority (which is led by Abbas), which is out of the ordinary and very irregular. Abu Mazen had to reassure the Palestinian public, since people in the streets were already talking freely against him and against the Palestinian Authority. Israel must calm the situation by removing the magnetometers from the Al-Aqsa gates."