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Abbas expresses zero tolerance for attacks on any holy site, including Jewish ones

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “We told the world: Israel is attacking the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and it is the Palestinian nation in Jerusalem that is protecting Al-Aqsa. Some call them Murabitin (those who carry out Ribat, religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic). Who are the Murabitin? They are young men who are present at Al-Aqsa and protect Al-Aqsa from any attack. We are for this and support this, and have said so outright. No one must attack our holy places. At the same time, we will not accept attacks on the [Jewish] holy places and on synagogues either. As Muslims, we equally respect the three religions and the holy places of the three religions. We refuse to say: We protect Al-Aqsa but not a Jewish synagogue or the Church of the Nativity – no, all of them are the same. We are performing this duty, specifically in Jerusalem… I only heard about the issue of [recognizing] the Jewish state two or three years ago. In the mutual recognition between us and Israel in 1993 (i.e., the Oslo Accords), we recognized the State of Israel, or its right to exist. They recognized the PLO and the issue was resolved. Things proceeded for ten or fifteen years without any demand [for recognition]. Then suddenly, Netanyahu began saying, ‘You have to recognize the Jewish State.’
We refused, absolutely refused. He directed his demand at us, not any [other country] in the world – in other words, he wanted no recognition from any other country in the world but us. We know why. We know very well why he spoke of a Jewish State. They started speaking about issues that could potentially affect the Arabs of 1948 (i.e., Israeli Arabs). When you say ‘Jewish State,’ they [the Israeli Arabs] are outside of it. This is one of the many reasons [we refused], and therefore, we continue to say: We will recognize the State of Israel. If Israel wants to call itself by a certain name, it should turn to the UN – although we would not agree [to such a move], neither now or in the future, under no circumstances. Now, [regarding] the events in the Palestinian territories, the attack on Al-Aqsa, the attack on the synagogue and then [again] Al-Aqsa. In practice, Israel wants to turn this into a religious war, and we have spoken about this repeatedly, saying: ‘You are giving an excuse to those who speak of an Islamic state – IS and the others.’ All of them give excuses to each other. For us, in the 21st century, this idea is not [relevant] – not an Islamic state, not a Christian state, not a Jewish state. Therefore, [when] you reach this line, you Israelis are leading a religious war which will happen, or is already happening, and will increasingly heat up in the region, in view of your statements and your demand that we recognize a Jewish state. We will not recognize a Jewish state and will not allow any opportunity to be given to [those wishing to] declare an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. These things are unacceptable at the present stage and time.”

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