Palestinian Authority ceases communication with Israel
All contact will end until Israel removes the metal detectors from the entrance to the Aqsa mosque compound, Mahmoud Abbas said at a conference at the PA headquarters in Ramallah.
“On behalf of the Palestinian leadership, I announce a freeze of all contacts with the occupation state on all levels until Israel commits to canceling all the measures against the Palestinian people in general, and al-Aqsa mosque in particular,” Abbas said.
The announcement was made after a ‘Day of Rage’ across the West Bank, which saw at least six Palestinians killed and hundreds wounded in violent altercations with Israeli forces.
The director-general of the United Nations, António Guterres “expressed concern” over Friday’s violence and urged political leaders to deescalate the situation.
A spokesperson for Guterres said the director-general “deeply deplores the death of three Palestinians in clashes today with the Israeli security forces and calls for these incidents to be fully investigated.”
Abbas said the move allowed for greater dialogue with Hamas, calling for a national reconciliation with the Islamist ruling party in the Gaza Strip.
The PA will reportedly allocate $55 million to help those injured in today’s violence and provide further support to Palestinians in east Jerusalem. The president also called on every Palestinian to give a day’s wages to the cause.
The Israeli government has received intensive lobbying from a large number of embassies to remove the new security checks, which have been boycotted by Palestinian worshippers since their introduction on Sunday.
The Israeli security services have all publicly recommended Prime Minister Netanyahu should remove the security barriers, saying that they are not required.
A wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015 has claimed the lives of at least 277 Palestinians, 42 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton.
Israeli authorities say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.
This violence worsened on Friday during a national 'Day of Anger', held to protest the introduction of metal detectors to the al-Aqsa mosque compound.
Mosque officials have called on worshippers to boycott the new security barriers, calling them a restriction on the freedom of worship.