By Aysar Al-Eis
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Friday that all contacts with Israel have been suspended until it commits to lift the recent measures taken at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Abbas, in a speech broadcast this evening on Palestinian television, rejected the Israeli installation of metal detectors at the gates of the Al-Aqsa compound.
"We reject the metal detectors, as these measures are covered by a fictitious security pretext, which aims at imposing control over Al-Aqsa Mosque and evading the peace process and its entitlements," he said.
Abbas called on the Palestinian factions, especially the Gaza-run Hamas group, to "unify the [Palestinian] internal row and to make the national focus directed only towards the Al-Aqsa issue."
Abbas went on to confirm that "we will continue to support the steadfastness of [people in] Jerusalem and we decided to allocate $25 million for that.”
In the same context, the Palestinian president called on the UN to push for the international protection of the Palestinian people.
Three Palestinian men were shot dead and hundreds of others were injured in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, according to health officials.
The killings came as Palestinians and Israeli security forces clashed after security restrictions were placed on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, the injury toll was 391; apart from wounds from live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas, some victims said they were run over by Israeli armed forces vehicles.
Protests broke out on Sunday after the mosque’s leadership spoke out against the metal detectors, which were installed following a shootout last Friday that left three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers dead.
The measures led to a wave of anger among Palestinians, who called for the immediate removal of the detectors.
However, Israel has refused to back down, saying the detectors match security measures at other holy sites around the world.
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