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Abbas Retracts Claim That Rabbis Called for Poisoning of Palestinian Wells

In a statement, the PLO says it has become clear the accusations against the rabbis are 'baseless,' and the Palestinian president didn't intend to offend Jewish people.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has retracted comments he made in a speech at the European Parliament accusing rabbis of poisoning Palestinian wells.

The Palestine Liberation Organization issued a statement saying it has become evident that claims of rabbis poisoning wells, which were "reported by various media outlets," are "baseless."

"President Mahmoud Abbas has affirmed that he didn't intend to do harm to Judaism or to offend Jewish people around the world," said the statement, adding that Abbas also condemns all accusations of anti-Semitism.

In his remarks, made in Brussels on Thursday, Abbas invoked a widely debunked media report that recalled a medieval anti-Semitic libel. The speech received a standing ovation.

In the PLO statment, Abbas, calling Palestine the cradle of all three monotheistic faiths, came out "strongly against any attack on any religion" and said he didn't intend to harm to Judaism or offend Jewish people around the world.

The Palestinian president also condemned "all illegitimate practices and policies by the Israeli occupation authorities and settlers against the Palestinian people."

Jack Khoury

Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.726989Schermata 2016 06 26 alle 22.51.00

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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