Ramallah, May 11 — Palestine is intensifying its contacts with the international community in an effort to curb the ongoing violent clashes in East Jerusalem, President Mahmoud Abbas said.
The aim of the contacts is to stop the dangerous escalation of violence against Muslim and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem, Abbas told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone conversation on Monday.
"During this hard time Palestine is passing through, we need to be united to face what is happening in East Jerusalem, end the internal division and form a unity government," Xinhua news agency quoted the President as saying.
For his part, Erdogan reaffirmed Turkey's support for the Palestinians' right to defend East Jerusalem and its holy places from the Israeli assaults.
The conversation between the two Presidents came a few hours after the Israeli forces stormed al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem and clashed with hundreds of Palestinian worshippers.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that 331 people were injured in the clashes.
Mohammad Hamadeh, spokesman of the Islamic Hamas movement in East Jerusalem, said that the Israeli authorities "will pay dearly for storming al-Aqsa Mosque and for attacking the worshippers".
Ismail Haniyeh, chief of Hamas, said that the movement "will not stand silent with hands cuffed toward the attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and the worshippers".
Tension between Israelis and Palestinians have escalated following the clashes which were triggered by Israeli restrictions during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan and the planned resettlement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem from their homes.