Saturday, 26 May, 2018

Israel removing metal detectors from al-Aqsa compound

Israel removing metal detectors from al-Aqsa compound Israel removing metal detectors from al-Aqsa compound
Ellis Copeland | 26 July, 2017, 17:18

Israel's security cabinet took the decision to remove the detectors early on Tuesday.

Israel installed the metal detectors at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on July 21, after two police guards were shot dead by gunmen on July 14.

Israel's security cabinet, meanwhile, announced it would replace the metal detectors with "advanced technologies", reportedly cameras that can detect hidden objects.

The White House said in a statement late on Tuesday that it "applauds the efforts of Israel to maintain security while reducing tensions in the region".

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.

A Waqf spokesman said it was awaiting a decision of a technical committee but was demanding the situation revert to the way it was before the metal detectors were installed.

The railings and suspicions over what new measures Israel is planning have led Palestinian and Muslim leaders to continue to call for a boycott of the site, and worshippers have heeded the call.

"It is extremely important that a solution to the current crisis be found by Friday this week", the envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said after briefing the UN Security Council, which met to discuss how to defuse the tension on Monday.

Israel said the guard had diplomatic immunity and both he and all the staff were confined to the embassy compound amid attempts to find a solution. "This is a new provocation by Netanyahu and an additional provocation among the worshippers visiting the mosque", accused Joint Arab List Chairman Jamal Zahalka, who applauded the removal of the metal detectors.

Palestinians rejected the new measures, calling for a return to the status quo before July 14.

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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.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday urged all Muslims to visit and "protect" Jerusalem in the wake of violence over metal detectors that Israel installed and later removed from the Temple Mount. "The time has come for the Israeli government to be respectful towards the Muslims' holy site".

A separate diplomatic standoff between Israel and Jordan may have helped push negotiations to remove the metal detectors along.

Jordanian authorities wanted to question an Israeli security guard who Israel said shot dead a Jordanian who had attacked him with a screwdriver in a residence next to the embassy.

Daniel told All Things Considered that at protests Friday, he heard Palestinians chanting, "With spirit and blood, we will redeem the Al-Aqsa Mosque" - which has its compound on the disputed site.

An argument erupted between the son of the owner and the embassy guard because of a delay in delivering the furniture, the Jordanian security agency said.

Jordan is the custodian of Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites, which Jews revere as the vestige of their two ancient temples and which was among East Jerusalem areas Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed as its capital in a move not recognised internationally.

The mosque compound has served as a rallying cry for Palestinians.

Commenting on the return of the diplomats, Netanyahu's office said it was made possible "thanks to close cooperation which was held in the past day between Israel and Jordan".

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