Netanyahu calls on Abbas to engage in direct negotiations without preconditions
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out on Wednesday at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who told the UN General Assembly his side could not remain the only one committed to agreements.
"Abu Mazen's speech is deceitful and encourages incitement and destruction in the Middle East," Netanyahu's office said, referring to Abbas.
Abbas called on Israel "to cease its use of brutal force ... particularly its actions at the Al-Aqsa mosque," accusing Israel of violating the site's status quo and preventing Muslim worshippers from accessing it.
Dore Gold, Israel’s Foreign Ministry director, said in an interview reported in the New York Times, “Israel does uphold its agreements.”
Clashes in recent weeks between Israeli police and Palestinians at the sensitive compound in occupied East Jerusalem have raised tensions and prompted Abbas to warn of the risk of a third intifada, or uprising.
"Unlike the Palestinians, Israel is closely safeguarding the status quo at the Temple Mount and is committed to continue and keep it, according to all the understandings between us and the Jordanians and the Waqf," Netanyahu continued, using the Jewish name for the complex.
Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount, which they revere as their holiest site, but are prohibited from praying there.
Abbas also accused Israel of refusing to commit to past agreements, leaving the Palestinians with "no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them".
The 80-year-old Palestinian president had his favourability decline dramatically since last year. Nearly two-thirds of Palestinians have expressed desires for him to resign.
Netanyahu called on Abbas to accept his offer and engage in direct negotiations with Israel, without pre-conditions.
"The fact that the offer is refused time and again is the best possible proof that he is not looking for a peace agreement," Netanyahu's office said.
In 2012, Abbas managed to upgrade Palestine’s status to a non-member observer at the UN, resulting in the ability to vote in several UN agencies and join the International Criminal Court.
On 10 September, the General Assembly voted almost unanimously to allow the Palestinians to fly their national flag at the United Nations – a move that upset the Israelis.