What is the Trouble With Metal Detectors in Jerusalem's Old City?

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 26, 2017

On Tuesday, Erdogan criticized Israel's recent actions around the mosque to a group of Justice and Development (AK) Party lawmakers in Ankara and called for Muslims to claim Jerusalem as their city. He also urged abstaining from policies that would throw the region into the "circle of fire".

"The Israel Police does not use any type of camera that harms privacy in any way and has no intention of using such cameras in the future", the statement said. "Those who criticize our country whenever possible suddenly become silent when the issue is Palestine, Jerusalem, or Muslims' rights or laws", the president said.

"This movement is a movement of the street", said Sheikh Raed Dana of the Islamic Waqf organisation, which administers the holy compound. Anger has spilled across the West Bank since Israel shut East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque following a deadly shootout July 14.

Israel's decision came in the face of intense worldwide diplomacy seeking to prevent the dispute over the Haram Al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, from sparking wider Palestinian unrest.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said the security Cabinet had made a decision to remove the metal detectors but leave in place the newly installed cameras.

Israel's security Cabinet has reached no decision about the new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site that have set off a wave of violence.

A senior Muslim official in Jerusalem said Wednesday that worshippers would not return to a contested shrine until Israel removes the new railings and cameras it installed after a deadly attack there, prolonging a crisis that Israel hoped it had resolved by making concessions at the site.

Crews removed the detectors and recently-installed cameras early Tuesday.

The Al Aqsa mosque is Islam's third holiest site after the Haram Shareef mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's mosque in Medina.

The detectors were installed after gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen at the shrine earlier in July.

The spike in tensions and the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in violence on Friday and Saturday have triggered worldwide alarm and prompted the United Nations Security Council to convene a meeting to seek ways of calming the situation.

Israeli authorities said the metal detectors were needed because the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the site and emerged from it to shoot the officers.

The spike in tensions and the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in violence on Friday and Saturday raised worldwide alarm and prompted a session of the United Nations Security Council to consider ways of defusing the crisis.

The demands set off the prospect of a renewed showdown ahead of Friday prayers at the site, when a large number of worshippers arrive for the centerpiece of the Muslim prayer week.

After a security cabinet meeting late on Monday, a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the cabinet "accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies ... and other measures instead of metal detectors".

The crisis was triggered by a shooting on Sunday in which an Israeli embassy guard killed two Jordanians after one attacked him with a screwdriver.

The security guard involved in the incident had been holed up in the fortress-like embassy along with the ambassador and other staff while Netanyahu sent an envoy to try to defuse the stand-off. The owner of the building, who stood next to Jawawdeh during the confrontation, also was hit by gunfire and later died of his wounds.

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