Abbas Urges U.S.: Intervene Before Jerusalem Violence Spirals Out of Control

Palestinian president warns against Israeli attempts to change status quo at Temple Mount.

Jack Khoury
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned the U.S. on Sunday against a deterioration of the situation in Jerusalem, saying it was liable to spiral out of control if the Israeli government continued its current policies, particularly the attempts to change the status quo in the Temple Mount.

Abbas’ office said that he had sent an urgent letter to the American administration, asking for its immediate intervention to stop what it called Israeli provocations in East Jerusalem, such as proposals that would allow Jews to pray at the Temple Mount compound.

Abbas said Israel would be responsible for the escalation and dangers that would result from its dangerous policies.

Clashes in Jerusalem continued on Sunday, as hundreds of Palestinians attended a symbolic funeral march in Silwan for a terrorist behind an attack which left two people dead last week.

Police blocked them en route to the cemetery, and heavy clashes between the Palestinians and police forces developed.

The terrorist, Abdel Rahman Al-Shaludi, rammed his car into a light rail train station near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem on Wednesday, and ran over passersby disembarking from the train. A three-month-old baby died of her wounds the same night, and on Sunday a 22-year-old Ecuadorian woman who was left in serious condition from the attack also died.

Clashes were also reported near Jewish homes in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Police said two teens suspected of throwing stones were arrested and taken for interrogation. Firebombs were thrown in the Beit Hanina neighborhood as well, police said, adding that there were no casualties.

Over the weekend, clashes erupted as a Palestinian teen with dual U.S. citizenship was killed in a confrontation with Israeli troops in a weekly protest near Ramallah. Eighteen Palestinians were arrested over the weekend.

Disturbances occurred in several East Jerusalem neighborhoods, with Palestinians throwing stones and firecrackers at police. Against this background, the Tel Aviv municipality has canceled some school trips to the capital.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the violence in Jerusalem at Sunday's cabinet meeting, saying the state will not allow the stones and firebombs to continue being thrown.

"There are extremist Islamist elements who are trying to set Israel's capital ablaze, and we will exert all the necessary force, with determination and responsibility, so they will not succeed," Netanyahu said.