Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called on Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem, saying this was not a form of “normalization” with Israel. In a speech in Doha before the International Conference for Defending and Protecting Jerusalem, Abbas...accused Israel of working toward obliterating the Arab, Islamic and Christian character of east Jerusalem with the goal of “Judaizing” the city and consolidating it as its capital. He also accused Israel of pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing and destroying Jerusalem’s infrastructure and economic resources...East Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine, the PA president told the conference, and Israel’s decision to annex east Jerusalem is null and void. Abbas also complained that since the early 1990s, Israel has been preventing Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from visiting Jerusalem and the holy sites...
And from Nadav Shragai to clarify his mendaciousness:
...Abbas is apparently relying on the world’s short memory – so here is a reminder: The kind of freedom of religion that thrives in Jerusalem today is unprecedented. Before 1967, things were different. The Arabs had vowed in writing (Article 8 of the 1949 Armistice Agreement with Jordan) to allow the Jews access to holy sites beyond the border, but in practice they prevented the Jews from visiting the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb and the Mount of Olives.
The ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was unrecognizable in 1967: About 50,000 of the 70,000 gravestones had been smashed. Many of them were used to build fences, roads and public toilets...They vandalized and damaged antiquities on the Temple Mount...Incidentally, Bethlehem, which, in contrast to Jerusalem, was handed over to the Palestinians, did in fact become “Muslim.” The Christian majority there was severely oppressed by the Palestinian Authority and eventually became a minority.
The myth that the “Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger,” which Abbas and his followers repeat like a mantra, isn’t only a despicable lie, it is also the direct opposite of the truth. It is precisely with the Temple Mount that Israel made an unthinkable concession -- it essentially handed the Muslims the holiest Jewish site, even though it is only the third-holiest site in Islam. Archaeological excavations that supposedly attempt to “Judaize” Jerusalem have actually uncovered entire chapters of Muslim history alongside the Jewish and Christian findings. The archaeological park on the south side of the wall is just one example of this.
In response to Abbas’ remarks, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said
“This is a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace. The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality.”
“For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said. “Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, will continue to be open to believers of all faiths. There is freedom of worship for all and Israel will continue to carefully maintain the holy places of all religions.”
The prime minister concluded, “[Abbas] knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks, including his baseless and irresponsible claims regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The state of Israel expects that one who supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and co-existence and not disseminate lies and incitement. This is not how one makes peace.”
Mr. Netanyahu, it would help if you were more forceful on preserving Jewish right to and im Jerusalem including foremost, the Temple Mount.