“Israel desires peace with the Palestinians, who continue to spread lies about our policy on the Temple Mount”, Netanyahu said in a statement, using the Jewish name for the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.
Israeli police said on Sunday they had arrested 39 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied east Jerusalem after days of protest and clashes over the flashpoint Al Aqsa mosque compound.
Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest site in Islam but known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the most sacred in Judaism. It has been hit by repeated clashes in recent weeks after Israeli police raided the mosque, saying they had received warnings that youth inside were planning attacks on Jews visiting for Jewish New Year.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said around 300 Palestinians marched near Beit El, with Israeli forces using riot dispersal means before firing rubber-coated bullets at the “main instigators”. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war, as their future capital.
Fresh clashes broke out Monday morning between Palestinians and i police for the second consecutive day in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, ahead of opening the site to Jewish visitors.
Israel has promised to ensure the delicate arrangement at the site and insists it will not allow the status quo governing the site to be changed.
On Thursday, Israel’s security cabinet of senior ministers made a decision to impose a minimum four-year jail term on Palestinian petrol bombers and rock throwers and to ease open-fire regulations.
Palestinian United Nations Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the station that Abbas’ speech is to “present steps to create facts on the ground toward setting up statehood, the statehood how we see it, how the global community sees it, not how the occupation [Israel] sees it”.
Israeli spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that since Rosh Hashanah on September 13, police have arrest 174 Palestinians in Jerusalem for throwing rocks and firebombs, among them 69 minors.
Jews celebrate Sukkot, or the Fest of Tabernacles, to commemorate their journey through the Sinai wilderness to the Holy Land after their Exodus from Egyptian slavery.
The current events contribute to diminishing the Palestinians’ hope in the realisation of a Palestinian state in accordance with the internationally agreed upon two-state solution, the president said.
Several Muslims accuse far-right Jews of provoking them by praying at the site.
“Al Aqsa is a holy place, but it is also a national symbol for Palestinians and all Arabs”, said Sheikh Kamal Khabit, deputy head of the Islamic Movement.
A campaign by a hardline Jewish minority to build a new temple at the site has further stoked suspicions among Palestinians. He said that Israeli forces “are firing live ammunition at protesters” in a few parts of Hebron.