Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas categorically rejected statements by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in which he said Israel will preserve freedom of worship for Jews at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Abbas stated that Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of Islam's holiest sites located in occupied Jerusalem's Old City which has been occupied since 1967.
The PA president considered Bennett's remarks as an escalation that would lead to a dangerous religious conflict for which the Israeli government bears full responsibility.
Abbas considered Bennett's remarks as a defiance of the international community, including the official US position that was conveyed to the Palestinian presidency and which calls for preserving the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He reiterated that he is taking all the required and necessary measures to preserve the Palestinian people's inalienable historical rights to Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian holy sites.
This morning Bennett backpedaled on his statement, saying: "There is no change in the status quo." The intention of his initial message, a statement said, was to facilitate the right of Jews to visit – rather than to pray at – the Muslim holy site.