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Palestine’s Abbas urges return to pre-2000 status quo in Jerusalem

RAMALLAH, (Xinhua) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Wednesday for returning to the status quo that was in force in Jerusalem before 2000, without any Israeli intervention.

“We are working with the Jordanian brothers to revert the situation to pre-2000 and protect our holy sites from the continuous settler attacks,” Abbas said at a meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinians stress that the status quo they refer to is the one that was enforced before Israel occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1967, and resumed until 2000, when Jordan was the custodian of Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

They say that Israel has changed the status quo in 2000 by controlling one of the main gates leading to the mosque and imposing restrictions on the other mosque’s gates.

The current wave of violence between Israel and the Palestinians has claimed the lives of 74 Palestinians who were killed in clashes with the Israeli army in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

In turn, 10 Israelis were killed in stabbing and run over attacks carried out by Palestinians.

Tension initially started with semi-daily clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police in mid September in East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Palestinians protested what they called Israeli plans to limit their access to the site they consider holy.

Abbas reiterated his demand to provide the Palestinians with international protection, adding that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has submitted a detailed memo in this regard.

The Palestinians have submitted a file of Israeli violations to the International Criminal Court (ICC), he said.

Abbas added that the PLO’s executive committee will discuss implementing recommendations of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), which include stopping security coordination between the two parties.

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