The officials said Abbas' hiring of Adnan Husseini is part of the leader's preparation for the U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace conference in November, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday. They said "fundamental" issues, including the future of Jerusalem and the creation of a Palestinian state, are expected to be discussed at the conference.
"The issue of Jerusalem is once again on the table," one official said. "That's why we need someone to be responsible for the Jerusalem portfolio and to prepare for the negotiations with Israel."
Meanwhile, Sheik Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement northern branch, accused Israel Thursday of planning to build a Jewish temple near the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, Ynetnews reported.
Salah said in a letter to Arab kings and leaders of Muslim countries that they must band together to "prevent the division of the Al-Aqsa by Israel."
He called for an end to "Israel's plan that aims at dividing the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews whereas in the Jewish part it plans to build its imaginary temple."