Just minutes after Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced at the UN in New York on Wednesday that the PA is abandoning the 1994 Oslo Accords, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office issued a sharp response.
"Abu Mazen's speech was deceitful and encourages incitement and lawlessness in the Middle East," said Netanyahu, using Abbas's nickname and rebutting his numerous claims that Israel is breaching international law and agreements.
"In contrast to the Palestinians, Israel is strictly maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and is committed to continuing to do so in accordance with the agreements between us and the Jordanians and the Waqf."
Under the "status quo," the Jordanian Waqf maintains de facto control and bans Jewish prayer at the site despite Israeli laws stipulating freedom of worship.
We expect and call on the [Palestinian] Authority and its leader to act responsibly and accede to the proposal of the Prime Minister of Israel and enter into direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions, continued Netanyahu's statement.
"The fact that he – time and again – has refused to do so is the best possible proof of the fact he does not intend to reach a peace agreement," he added.
That statement is all the more meaningful given Abbas's claims in his UN speech that he was holding direct communication with Israel.