Metal Detectors Will Be Removed From Jerusalem Holy Site

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 27, 2017

Erdogan said he had heard that Israel had removed the metal detectors from the entrances to the Temple Mount for Muslim worshippers and hoped that "the rest will follow".

Some said they were drawn by the experience of shared goal, rare in east Jerusalem's fractured society, where Israel has clamped down on Palestinian efforts to organize politically.

After the prayers, many in the crowd chanted, "Oh God, oh God, oh God", as they raised their right index finger to the sky in a sign of religious fervor.

The continued protests meant that the escalating crisis between Israel and the Muslim world, which began in mid-July, has not been defused, even after Israel backed down on the metal detectors. This would make physical access for Muslim worshipers to the mosque easier and quicker, and make the area outside the holy site look less like a military checkpoint.

On Sunday, a Jordanian workman of Palestinian descent used a screwdriver to stab and wound an Israeli security guard at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman. The Associated Press reports that Jordan's King Abdullah II spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking him to "remove the causes" of the tension.

But it says it has no intention of changing the status quo of the city's holy sites.

"Israel claims that the metal detectors are necessary for Israel's "security" following an incident last week in which two armed Israeli officers were killed", wrote Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and analyst.

A senior member of Netanyahu's coalition government criticized Israel's dismantling of the security devices warning it could spell more violence. He says mass prayer protests would continue outside the site until the gates of the compound were opened and the metal railings and an iron bridge with cameras on it were removed. "We will keep praying here", he said, alleging Israel hadn't removed all of the new security measures.

- U.N. Mideast envoy Nikolai Mladenov warned that the Jerusalem crisis signaled the dangers of turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious one.

His visit marked the first on-the-ground involvement by the USA administration since the start of the crisis over the shrine.

Some Muslim officials alleged that Israel used the absence of Muslim clerics from the walled compound in the past week of protests to install new security cameras. The new security system is said to be set up in the next six months at a cost of $28 million.

Palestinians see the installation as an attempt by Israel to assert further control over the site of their holy shrine in occupied East Jerusalem - the mosque that also acts as a powerful symbol of their national aspiration. Erdogan called for calm and said attacking places of worship was "a big mistake".

Over the past week, Palestinians in Jerusalem have increasingly sought guidance from the traditional Muslim leaders in the city - four men in their 60s and 70s. Until then, extra police would be deployed around the site, it added.

Jordan's ruling Hashemite dynasty draws much of its legitimacy from its role as protector of the holy site.

The foreign ministries of Turkey and Israel are trading barbs over the crisis at a holy site in Jerusalem.

The swift resolution of the latest diplomatic row reflected the overriding interest by both countries to protect their relationship.

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