Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dispelled rumors about his death with an audio intervention on Wednesday at a conference on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.
“Jerusalem is not for sale, and all evidence and historical documents confirm the identity of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and all the Islamic and Christian holy sites in our holy capital,” Abbas said, in a speech delivered over the phone to a conference entitled, Property Documents and the Historical Status of the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“We will not allow and will not accept a change in the legal and historical status quo at Al-Aqsa, whatever the circumstances,” he told the conference that was held at the headquarters of the Red Crescent in Al-Bireh.
The Palestinian president stressed that the conflict with the Israeli occupation was essentially political, “not a conflict with a particular religion.”
He continued: “Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale, and we have foiled all suspicious projects to liquidate the Palestinian cause, in particular the deal of the century.”
His comments came following rumors that spread earlier on Wednesday about his death. The Palestinian presidency published photos of Abbas delivering his speech over the phone. In the background the screen of the Palestine TV broadcast the live intervention of the president.
News websites and activists on social media platforms talked of Abbas’ death, days after reports emerged about the deterioration of his health.
The Fatah Movement spokesman, Osama al-Qawasmi, denied the rumors, stressing that the president was in good health.
Speculations over the health of Abbas, 86, started earlier this week with brief news reported by some media outlets, including BBC Arabic, that Abbas had asked the Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, to perform some of his essential tasks as he was suffering from some health problems.