Palestine doesn’t want Israel violence to escalate


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday he wanted to avoid a violent escalation with Israel, his most direct comments since unrest has spread in recent days and provoked fears of a new uprising.
His comments came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged a crackdown and Israel, in a show of force, demolished the homes of two Palestinians who carried out attacks last year.
More clashes also erupted Tuesday, including in Bethlehem following the funeral of a 13-year-old killed by Israeli soldiers during rioting outside the city.
“We don’t want a military and security escalation with Israel,” Abbas said at a meeting of Palestinian officials, according to official news agency Wafa.
“We are telling our security forces, our political movements, that we do not want an escalation, but that we want to protect ourselves.”
Abbas’s intentions were unclear before his recent comments, particularly following his UN General Assembly speech last week, in which he declared he was no longer bound by accords with Israel.
But the question remains of whether Palestinian youths frustrated with both Abbas’ leadership and Israel’s right-wing government will listen to his appeals.
Israel lifted rare restrictions Tuesday barring Palestinians from Jerusalem’s Old City, with only residents, business owners and students allowed in the previous two days.
Worship at the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound will continue to be limited to men aged 50 and above. There is no age limit for women.


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