Israel's Netanyahu slams 'deceitful, inciting' Abbas UN speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out Wednesday at Palestinian president Mahmud 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.

Abbas also 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.

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."

But Netanyahu called on Abbas to accept his offer and engage in direct negotiations with Israel, without preconditions.

"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.

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