Cabinet votes to remove metal detectors from holy site in Jerusalem

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 27, 2017

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the senior Muslim cleric who oversees Al-Aqsa compound both turned down the new Israeli measures and demanded all of them be removed.

The Israeli move came in the face of intensive worldwide diplomacy seeking to stop the dispute over the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, sparking wider Palestinian unrest.

"We need to know all the details before we decide to pray inside the compound", said Mohammed Hussein, the top Muslim cleric, or mufti, in Jerusalem.

Mufuoglu said: "Trying to cover up the fact that East Jerusalem is under occupation will not serve peace and stability in the region or the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict".

Israel installed metal detectors and security cameras near the entrance to the sacred site - known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount - following an attack in which two Israeli police officers were killed.

A statement issued after the security cabinet meeting said it had chose to heed a recommendation of Israeli security bodies and replace the detectors with "smart checking" devices.

Jerusalem's Old City is in east Jerusalem, which Israel seized in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed, a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

The holy site is located in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

In response, Israel installed metal detectors at the gates of the 37-acre (15-hectare) walled compound, saying the devices were a needed security measure to prevent more attacks and were deployed routinely at holy sites around the world.

"During a phone call, His Majesty stressed the need to find an immediate solution and remove the causes of the ongoing crisis in the Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Muslim name for Temple Mount) to restore the situation to what it was before the outbreak of the crisis and full reopen the Al-Aqsa Mosque", Jordan's state news agency Petra reported.

Palestinians viewed the security measures as an Israeli attempt to assert further control over the site, and large protests led to deadly clashes.

Following intensive worldwide diplomacy and warnings of the potential of wider unrest, Israel removed the metal detectors early on Tuesday.

Abbas, who last week froze contacts with Israel including security coordination, said Tuesday that would continue "unless all measures go back to what they were before July 14".

Israel's military fortified its troops in the West Bank and placed forces on high alert Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family and some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years erupted over tensions at the Holy Land's most contested shrine.

David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, said while visiting Israel's parliament that Washington had talks with Israel and Jordan to resolve the crisis.

Israel's decision to dismantle the detectors followed talks between Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah II, who demanded their removal.

A second Jordanian was also killed, apparently by accident.

Israel has repeatedly accused Abbas and his Palestinian Authority of permitting anti-Israeli incitement in the public Palestinian discourse.

"If they (Palestinians) do not want to enter the mosque, then let them not enter the mosque".

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