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Video: Palestinian Authority freezes all contacts with Israel over al-Aqsa restrictions

Tehran: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will suspend all contacts with Israel until it puts an end to its new restraining measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

“I, on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, announce… a freeze of all contacts with the occupation state on all levels until Israel commits to cancelling all the measures against our Palestinian people in general and al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque in particular,” Abbas said in a brief televised speech on Friday after meeting his aides.

Abbas said the measures were “falsely presented as a security measure to take control over al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The Palestinian Authority and Israel have a series of contacts on different issues, including recent deals related to water and electricity.

Clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli regime forces outside the mosque compound continued for a seventh consecutive day on Friday as Israeli officials refused to heed growing international calls to remove metal detectors recently installed at the entrance to the religious site. Israel has also installed security cameras at the Muslim holy site and barred men under 50 from entering the Old City for Friday prayers.

Israeli soldiers used live fire, tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators in different parts of the occupied West Bank, killing four, including a seven-year old child, and injuring some 400 others.

Palestinian protesters burn tires across a street during a demonstration at a checkpoint south of Nablus on July 21, 2017 against Tel Aviv’s new restrictions at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Thousands of Palestinians also took to the streets of the besieged Gaza Strip, expressing solidarity with protesters in the West Bank.

Israel placed the detectors in front of al-Aqsa Mosque, generally known as the Noble Sanctuary, on July 14 after a reported shootout near the compound left two Israeli soldiers and three Palestinians dead.

The Arab League condemned the Israeli forces’ deadly violence against Palestinian protesters on Friday. The United Nations called for de-escalation in the occupied territories.

Millions of people in various Muslim countries, including Jordan, Turkey, Sudan and Yemen, staged anti-Israel protests on Friday.

Speaking in Ankara after Friday prayers, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara was in talks with Tel Aviv to end the al-Aqsa Mosque crisis.

Meanwhile, three Israeli settlers were killed in a stabbing attack in Neve Tzuf settlement northwest of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Friday night.

Israeli forces shot and arrested the alleged 19-year-old Palestinian assailant but there has been no information about his current condition.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.