Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday launched a scathing verbal attack on Israel, following the continued clashes between Arab rioters and Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Abbas, speaking in particularly harsh language, insisted that none of Jerusalem's holy sites belonged to Israel, reported Al-Arabiya.
"They are all ours and we will not let them desecrate it with their filthy feet," he declared, speaking during a visit to eastern Jerusalem.
"We will protect Jerusalem and will protect our Christian and Muslim holy sites. We will not leave our homeland. We will remain holding every atom of soil in this homeland," added Abbas.
On Sunday, hours before Rosh Hashanah, masked Muslim rioters hurled rocks and fireworks at police on the Temple Mount, as well as firebombs near two entrances to the site.
The clashes continued on Tuesday, as once again masked Muslim youths gathered around the mosque and threw rocks and other projectiles at police who had entered the compound in large numbers and responded with stun grenades.
Under an arrangement meant to placate extremist Muslims, Jews are allowed to visit the compound, but cannot pray there or perform any other acts of worship. In recent years, however, Islamist groups have mobilized in an organized campaign of harassment and violence to end even those limited Jewish visits to the site – while claiming it is the Israeli government which seeks to alter the "status quo" by allowing Jewish prayer.
In response to the violence, the Israeli government is mulling toughening security measures including changes to police rules of engagement to allow live fire to be used against rioters.
Abbas previously strongly condemned the Israel Police and called their defense during an Arab mob riot an "attack."
"The presidency strongly condemns the attack by the occupier's military and police against the Al-Aqsa mosque and the aggression against the faithful who were there," a statement from his office, released following Sunday’s violence, said.