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JERUSALEM (AP) — Crowds of Palestinian youths went on violent rampages in east Jerusalem on Thursday, stoning buses, overturning cars and facing down Israeli riot police at the holy city's most sensitive religious site following the shooting death of a local man.
The sudden burst of violence immediately clouded fragile peace efforts, even as the Palestinian president signaled he may back away from threats to walk away from the negotiations next week if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proceeds with plans to resume settlement construction in the West Bank.
"I cannot say I will leave the negotiations, but it's very difficult for me to resume talks if Prime Minister Netanyahu declares that he will continue his (settlement) activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem," Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in an address to U.S. Jewish leaders late Tuesday in New York, according to a transcript of the event obtained by The Associated Press.
The violence was a vivid illustration of how sensitive — and combustible — the situation in east Jerusalem can be. The competing Israeli and Palestinian claims to the area, home to key Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, have frequently escalated into clashes and intense fighting.
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