Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas entered competition with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for support from African countries on Sunday, as he invited them to participate in a multinational mechanism to replace the U.S. in Mideast peacemaking, The Times of Israel reported.
“Peace efforts require the establishment of an international multilateral mechanism under the umbrella of the United Nations, and we call on the African Union and its member states to be represented in this mechanism,” Abbas declared at the African Union in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.
The Palestinian leader repeated the charge that Israel is attempting to change the “identity” of Yerushalayim, claiming it is part of a program threatening to non-Jewish holy sites in the city.
“The city of Jerusalem is subject to a fierce attack aimed at changing its spiritual identity, its character, its historical places, and is abusing Islamic and Christian holy sites,” he said.
Israel rejects the allegation, and stresses that it has only been under Israeli administration that all religions have had unimpeded access to the holy sites in the city. By contrast, when Jordan controlled the Old City between 1948 and 1967, Jews were not allowed to enter, and the Kosel and the Jewish cemetery on Har Hazeisim were subject to outrageous desecration.