Israel Remove Metal Detectors and Cameras in Jerusalem

Published July 25th, 2017 - 02:20 GMT
The site is exclusively administered by the Jordanian-controlled, while Israel maintains security control around the perimeter. (AFP)
The site is exclusively administered by the Jordanian-controlled, while Israel maintains security control around the perimeter. (AFP)

Leaders of Jerusalem's Muslim community on Tuesday refused to end their boycott on the city's holiest site until changes to Israeli security measures are reviewed.

Israel's installation of metal detectors over a week ago at the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, brought tensions to a fever pitch between Israel and the greater Muslim community.

Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary is sacred to both religions, as it houses the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine, but also the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

The site is exclusively administered by the Jordanian-controlled, while Israel maintains security control around the perimeter. Palestinians say Israel is seeking to expand control at the holy site through security measures.

In an apparent effort to quell tensions and international outcry, the Israeli security cabinet said Tuesday it would accept the recommendation of Israel's security bodies and replace the intrusive metal detectors with "smart checks" and "other measures." 

Jerusalem's Muslim leaders rejected the move as insufficient, demanding that no new Israeli security measures be placed on the compound and that all security cameras installed at the entrance in recent days be removed.

The Jerusalem leadership authorized the Muslim religious authority that administers the site, known as the Waqf, to present them with a review of the situation inside and outside the holy site. 

"We will continue in our presence outside the gates until the times comes when we can enter freely," Waqf official Sheikh Attallah Nasser told dpa in Jerusalem's Old City. 

Israeli media reported that the security cameras were removed from the entrance to the holy site compound. A police spokesman declined to say if the cameras were taken down. 

The metal detectors and cameras, which were installed after three Israeli Arabs killed two police officers near the site more than a week ago, sparked outrage among Palestinians and in the Muslim world.

Since their installation, four Palestinians have died in street clashes with police and three members of an Israeli family were stabbed to death by a Palestinian man claiming to be defending the site. The Palestinian Authority froze all ties with Israel.

Near the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque on Tuesday women held a vigil, praying loudly in protest. As the director of the mosque Sheikh Omar Kiswani arrived supporters told him "not to make the wrong decision" adding that they are ready to continue their protest. 

Jerusalem resident Obeid Fakhouri, 65, said that he will not enter the mosque before "all obstacles are removed." 

Israel's decision to take down the metal detectors was met with some criticism from Israeli politicians and ministers. 

"You don't need to be a security expert to understand that the metal detectors have a security and deterrence effect," said Miri Regev, the minister of culture and sport.

Israeli Arab lawmaker Jamal Zahalka of the Joint List accused Netanyahu of provoking Muslim worshippers.

"The provocations so far have led to bloodshed, and there is concern that this will continue in light of the attempt to impose measures that harm the mosque and worshippers," Zahalka said in a statement. 

Late Monday, Israel obtained the release of an Israeli embassy security guard in Amman who had shot and killed an alleged attacker.

According to Israeli media reports, King Abdullah of Jordan asked that Israel remove the metal detectors in a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


© 2019 dpa GmbH

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