The Palestinian Authority condemned on Sunday Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's appearance at a gate leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque where he gave support to police reinforcements in a bid to deter Palestinians from committing anti-occupation acts, Wafa news agency has reported. Lapid went to the Damascus Gate with Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and parliamentarians from his Yesh Atid party.
"We give you full backing," he told Shabtai and other senior officers. He confirmed this in a later statement issued by his office, adding that, "This is a difficult, tense period, but we have a police force that can be relied on to get us through this complex period."
The minister confirmed that over 8,000 police officers will be deployed across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories during the upcoming Jewish Passover holiday.
"The promises made by Lapid to the Jewish settlers that Israel is going to deploy more police officers under the pretext of securing Jewish holidays are a form of provocation," said the Palestinian foreign ministry. It called Lapid's position "the worst form of the Israeli apartheid imposed by the occupation on the Palestinian people."
The PA statement described Lapid's promises "as part of the expansionist Zionist system which aims to restrict the freedoms of the Palestinians."
Condemning the fact that a senior Israeli minister "only recognises the need for Jewish holidays to be protected, while ignoring Muslim and Christian holidays," the PA noted that, "This is the apartheid system."