Israel's deputy foreign minister, Danny Danon, insisted earlier this week that Jews require permission from no one to pray at Jerusalem's Western Wall, the retaining wall of the Temple Mount that for centuries has been Judaism's holiest site.
At a meeting with Israeli students in Ramallah on Sunday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas insisted the Palestinians must win control of the eastern half of Jerusalem in order to make peace, but promised to still allow Jews to enter the Old City and pray at the Western Wall.
"We do not need the permission of anyone to pray at the Kotel, certainly not from the Palestinian leadership," an incredulous Danon said later in response. "Jews have prayed, Jews pray, and Jews will pray at the Kotel forever."
In the meeting, which was set up by left-wing Israeli peace movements, Abbas also claimed he had no desire to flood Israel with millions of so-called "Palestinian refugees," even though he continues to make a Palestinian "right of return" a red-line issue in current US-brokered peace talks.
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