Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has warned that a 'global religious war' will take place if Jews are allowed to "contaminate" the Al-Aqsa mosque in Temple Mount.
Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Abbas warned the Israeli government against changing the status quo of the site, which is holy for both Muslims and Jews. Insisting that the protesters at Al-Aqsa mosque have the right to defend themselves, Abbas added that Muslims and Christians would never recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
"Keep the settlers and the extremists away from Al-Aqsa and our holy places," Abbas said, Russian Times reports. "We will not allow our holy places to be contaminated. Keep them away from us and we will stay away from them but if they enter Al-Aqsa, (we) will protect Al-Aqsa and the church and the entire country."
It can be noted that Jews are, in reality, allowed to come to Al-Aqsa although they are not allowed to pray inside the building. The area was annexed by Israel in 1967, but Muslims are currently in charge of the place.
"Israel's leaders are making a big mistake if they think they can turn back history, to impose a reality, and to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque (into separate prayers times and area) as they divided the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron," Abbas said, adding that Muslims "have the right to defend themselves and the holy places" when they are attacked.
The statement comes a week after the Israeli Housing Minister Uri Areal said that they would build a Jewish temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ,however, maintains that he will not actually change the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque.