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Temple Mount riot shows tough balancing act for Mahmoud Abbas

The Temple Mount riot in Jerusalem erupted after a Palestinian was killed by an Israeli security guard. Rising tensions are a challenge for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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The Dome of the Rock is seen on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City September 14.

Darren Whiteside/Reuters

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hinted Tuesday night that he may stick with peace talks even if Israel doesn’t extend a settlement freeze, softening a precondition he had insisted on until then.

But an outbreak of violence around Jerusalem’s Temple Mount today suggests that Palestinian anger over an expanding Jewish presence may be reaching a boiling point. Such a disconnect between Mr. Abbas and average Palestinians could threaten or even end the talks – as well as Abbas’s political career.

“I cannot say I will leave the negotiations, but it’s very difficult for me to resume talks if [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu declares that he will continue his activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he was quoted as saying at a dinner for American Jewish leaders in New York.

Violence in Silwan spreads to Old City

The violence began in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a predominately Palestinian area in the shadow of the Old City’s southern walls that has become a flashpoint in broader Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

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