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'Abbas's own security fears will keep him from Temple Mount'

from The Jerusalem Post,
by David Horovitz


PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will not pay a visit to the Temple Mount on Friday, not because of Israeli objections but because his own security people believe it would be too dangerous for him to do so, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told The Jerusalem Post yesterday. "He won't be on Temple Mount," Ra'anan Gissin said flatly.

Gissin stressed that this is not a case of Israel barring Abbas from the site. Indeed, he said, Israel had received no request from him. Rather, said Gissin, "his security people are against it, because they cannot provide that kind of security."

It was not yet clear whether Abbas would come to Jerusalem at all ahead of Sunday's elections for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, Gissin said, again because of security concerns rather than Israeli objections.

While some Israeli leaders, notably including Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, have been publicly critical of Abbas's recent campaign messages and style, including his insistence that he will not aggressively confront extremist groups which he insists are not guilty of terrorism, Gissin maintained the more indulgent approach that Sharon has been following.

Sharon is giving Abbas time, he said, adding: "The prime minister says, 'Okay, I understand he has problems with the elections.' So he enjoys the benefit of the doubt for now... The real test will come after elections to see if he takes action [against the terrorist groups]."

Gissin said the "personal threat" to Abbas's well-being is increasing in the run-up to the elections, and will be greater still if he wins. He said Abbas is "the last hope for the Palestinians" to move forward in negotiations with Israel, and that "armed groups here... directed, instigated, supported and paid by Iran... don't want him. They don't want to see him."



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