Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has blamed the escalation of tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories on Israel’s continued aggression and its illegal settlement activities.
Abbas said in a Monday speech that the current violence stems from the Palestinian youths’ despair over the halt in the talks between Israel and the Palestinians as well as the Israeli regime’s “invasion of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the continuation of settlement building and military checkpoint deployment,” Israeli media reported.
He added that the ongoing tensions have been caused by the “lack of an alternative” for Palestinian youths, who have seen that “our state doesn’t exist because of the settlements and checkpoints, and despair started to seep in.”
Tensions in the occupied territories have dramatically escalated since the Israeli regime’s imposition of restrictions in August on the entry of Palestinian worshipers to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Palestinians are angry at increasing violence by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and their attacks on Palestinian properties, saying the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the compound, a complaint echoed by Abbas on Monday.
The Palestinian president further said that no solution has been found regarding the Israeli “attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” while comparing the current situation with the one created after former Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon visited the holy site on September 28, 2000, which led to the Second Intifada (popular uprising), also known as the al-Aqsa Intifada.
“Today, the situation is similar,” Abbas said, stressing that Palestinians are still “patient and steadfast about our rights.”
The first Palestinian Intifada took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flashpoint holy Islamic site, also highly respected by Jews and Christians. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in the recent escalation of violence since the start of October. Nearly 20 Israelis have also been killed in the clashes.