Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Video: Israel attacks Jerusalem worshippers – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Maureen Clare Murphy Rights and Accountability 26 July 2017

Palestinians pray outside the Lions Gate to Jerusalems al-Aqsa mosque on 24 July.

Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian worshippers at the Lions Gate entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Tuesday night.

The Palestinian Quds news outlet reported that Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters, wounding dozens, and prevented ambulances from reaching the area.

Palestinian worshippers had continued to keep vigil outside the mosque compound on Tuesday. The Waqf religious trust that administers the site had called for continuation of a boycott as it evaluated the situation after Israel removed metal detectors the night before.

The metal detectors had been unilaterally installed along with security cameras following a shooting attack that left two Israeli police officers and three suspected Palestinian assailants dead earlier in the month. Israel claims that the alleged assailants ambushed the police officers from the compound.

The new Israeli measures were met with vigorous Palestinian protest and civil disobedience as well as international warnings against any change to the delicate status quo at the highly sensitive holy site.

Four Palestinians were shot dead during protests in the Jerusalem area and hundreds more demonstrators were wounded throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza over the weekend.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors but not the security cameras late Monday night. Israeli media reported that the cabinet decided to replace the metal detectors with security cameras that have facial recognition capabilities and are connected to a biometric database.

Israeli journalists reported late Tuesday night that Netanyahu had directed Gilad Erdan, Israels public security minister, and police to conduct body checks on anyone who enters the mosque compound:

Meanwhile Avi Dichter, a senior Israeli lawmaker from Netanyahus Likud party who formerly headed the countrys secret police, told Israeli television that the government had decided to turn the Temple Mount into a sterile area with all that this entails, employing the term Israel uses for the mosque compound.

The Temple Mount is under Israeli sovereignty, period, he said.

No country recognizes Israels claim to sovereignty over East Jerusalem, which is part of the occupied West Bank.

Dichter is one of many Israeli leaders openly advocating for greater Israeli control if not an outright takeover of the site, one of the holiest shrines for Muslims and a touchstone of Palestinian identity.

Several Israeli lawmakers openly support a government-funded extremist movement which seeks to destroy Islamic holy sites at the al-Aqsa mosque compound and replace them with a Jewish temple.

Palestinians view Israels measures at al-Aqsa as part of an effort to erase all Palestinian life in the city, like it has in the area of the historic Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, where an American Jewish settler massacred Palestinian worshippers in 1994.

Video shows hundreds of Palestinians gathered at Lions Gate pledging to defend al-Aqsa on Tuesday night:

Videos show terrifying scenes as Israeli forces fire on the crowd of men, women and children:

Israeli forces shot crowd control weapons at people running away from them:

Children were said to be among those injured:

Journalists were also among those assaulted on Tuesday, including Faiz Abu Rmeleh, whose photographs have been published by The Electronic Intifada.

Video posted by the Activestills collective, of which Abu Rmeleh is a member, show his assault and subsequent arrest:

Journalist Fatima al-Bakri was also injured.

The Committee to Protect Journalists had previously reported that at least six Palestinian journalists were injured while covering al-Aqsa protests on 20 and 21 July.

Sinan Abu Maizer, a cameraman for Reuters, was filming at Lions Gate on 20 July when he was hit on the head with a police baton, causing a concussion and an open wound.

Mirna Alatrash, a reporter with the Maan News Agency, was hit in the face with a tear gas canister while covering a protest at a checkpoint in Bethlehem on 21 July while her colleague Muhammad Lahham collapsed from tear gas inhalation.

Rami al-Khatib, a freelance photographer, was punched in the chest by an Israeli officer when he presented the officer with his press card, a Palestinian press freedom group told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Other reporters were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and sound bombs.

Al-Makassed hospital in Jerusalem reported receiving 10 patients injured by tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets on Tuesday, most of them journalists and paramedics.

The hospital has been stormed by Israeli soldiers and police twice over the past week, terrifying staff and patients and in some cases preventing doctors from providing emergency medical care to critically injured patients, Amnesty International stated on Tuesday.

Hospital staff told Amnesty that on 21 July, around 200 heavily armed soldiers surrounded the hospital and entered forcefully, arresting people in their path and using tear gas. They were pursuing a young man with a major chest wound in critical condition and followed him all the way to the operating theater.

They invaded the entire hospital They even entered the neonatal unit What do they want in there? It was pure terrorization of the patients, Talal al-Sayed, head of reception at al-Makassed, told Amnesty.

I have never been so scared in my life. All I remember were loud sounds and pushing and screaming. It was total chaos, said a nurse who was on duty at the time of the raid. There was blood all over the place on the floor, on the walls.

Video uploaded to social media showed the body of Muhammad Abu Ghanam, a Palestinian youth shot and fatally wounded by police that same day, being smuggled out of the hospital before Israeli forces could confiscate his remains.

The conduct of Israeli forces who carried out violent raids on al-Makassed hospital harassing and intimidating staff and patients is utterly deplorable, stated Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnestys deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

There can be no justification for preventing medical workers from caring for a critically wounded patient.

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Video: Israel attacks Jerusalem worshippers – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

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Israel Removes Metal Detectors from Jerusalem Holy Site But Anger Remains – NBCNews.com

Israel on Tuesday dismantled metal detectors it installed a week earlier at a contested Jerusalem shrine, hoping to defuse a crisis with the Muslim world, including security ally Jordan, the Muslim custodian of the holy site.

The removal of the devices followed the resolution of a 24-hour diplomatic standoff with Jordan over a deadly shooting at the Israeli Embassy in the kingdom, suggesting a broader deal had been struck.

However, there were signs Tuesday that the crisis over the shrine, revered by Muslims and Jews, was not over yet.

Israel announced it would replace the metal detectors with new security measures. This would include “advanced technologies,” reportedly sophisticated cameras, and additional police deployments.

Muslim leaders had demanded that security arrangements go back to what they were before the metal detectors were erected.

Ikrema Sabri, a senior Muslim cleric, said Tuesday that Muslims should stay away from the shrine, pending a review of the new Israeli measures. The review could be completed by the end of the day.

“Our position is that for now, nobody should enter,” he told The Associated Press.

The 37-acre esplanade in Jerusalem’s Old City is the third holiest site of Islam and the holiest of Judaism, once home to biblical Temples. It sits on the fault line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and triggered several major confrontations in the past.

Israel had erected metal detectors at the gates to the Muslim-administered site last week, after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police guards there.

The move incensed the Muslim world, amid allegations that Israel was trying to expand control over the site under the guise of security a claim Israel denies.

Israeli security forces remove metal detectors at an entrance to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July 25. Ammar Awad / Reuters

Large crowds of Muslim worshippers prayed outside the shrine in protest every day, refusing to pass through the metal detectors.

Israel has denied it has a hidden agenda, portraying the metal detectors as a needed means to prevent attacks.

The diplomatic crisis with Jordan over the embassy shooting lent more urgency to finding a solution.

Israel’s security Cabinet, meanwhile, announced it would replace the metal detectors with “advanced technologies,” reportedly cameras that can detect hidden objects.

The Cabinet said police would increase the deployment of forces until the new measures are in place. The statement said the government would budget $28 million to implement the security plan over a period of “up to six months.”

President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Netanyahu before the decision was announced, a sign of the first direct involvement of the U.S. administration since the crisis began. Greenblatt then headed to Jordan.

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Israel Removes Metal Detectors from Jerusalem Holy Site But Anger Remains – NBCNews.com

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Israel removes metal detectors from holy site in Jerusalem – The Guardian

Israeli security forces remove metal detectors recently installed at al-Aqsa mosque compound. Photograph: Ammar Awad/Reuters

Israel is removing metal detectors from entrances to the compound that houses al-Aqsa mosque.

The move was announced late on Monday night by the office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and is designed to end a crisis over the holy site. Days of violent confrontations have claimed seven lives.

Despite the Israeli announcement, however, a senior Muslim cleric in Jerusalem said worshippers should stay away from the shrine pending a review of the new Israeli security arrangements there.

Ikrema Sabri, the head of the Supreme Islamic Committee in the city, said such a review may be completed later on Tuesday. Sabri said: Our position is that for now, nobody should enter the shrine.

The removal of the detectors on Tuesday appeared to be part of a deal under which Israeli diplomats were repatriated from Jordan, including an embassy security guard who was involved in a fatal shooting of two Jordanians on Sunday night.

The brief statement said the Israeli security cabinet, which met on Monday evening, had accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies (smart checks) and other measures instead of metal detectors in order to ensure the security of visitors and worshippers in the Old City and on the Temple Mount.

The statement added that under the plan Israeli police would reinforce their presence around the holy site. It did not say when the metal detectors would be removed or what would replace them. Israeli media earlier reported that high-resolution cameras capable of detecting hidden objects would be the alternative.

Earlier on Monday the UNs Middle East envoy warned of the dangers of allowing the crisis to continue. It is extremely important that a solution to the current crisis be found by Friday this week, Nickolay Mladenov said after briefing the UN security council. The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday prayer without a resolution.

He said events in east Jerusalem were not localised but affect millions if not billions of people around the world.

Even before the Israeli decision to remove the devices, it was unclear whether such a move would be sufficient to end the violence. Muslim religious officials who allege Israel is trying to expand its control at the site said they would accept only a return to the arrangements for access to the compound that had been in place before an incident on 14 Julywhen two Israeli policemen were shot by three Israeli Arab gunmen who had smuggled weapons on to the site.

This movement is a movement of the street, said Sheikh Raed Dana of the waqf, the Islamic endowments organisation that administers the mosque compound, commenting on whether he believed worshippers should end protests and return to the shrine. We as the waqf listen to the street. The street says yes and we say yes; if the street says no to the measures, we will say no.

There has been increasing criticism of the way the metal detectors were installed, without consultation with the waqf and reportedly over the objections of senior Israeli security officials who had warned of the risk of bloodshed.

On Monday night Israeli diplomats were evacuated from the embassy in the Jordanian capital, Amman, after Sundays shooting of two Jordanians by a security guard.

The diplomats, including Israels ambassador to Jordan, Einat Schlain, crossed the Allenby bridge border in a convoy, arriving back in Israel at around 11pm. Among those repatriated were the security guard whom Jordan had originally said it wanted to retain for questioning over the incident.

A Jordanian news site linked to the kingdoms military said investigators had determined that the altercation at the embassy compound was not politically motivated and that one of the Jordanians, a 17-year-old, had attacked the guard with a screwdriver in a dispute about a furniture delivery.

Under an agreement negotiated by the head of Israels domestic security service, who had been sent to Amman to negotiate, Israel agreed that Jordanian police could hear the guards description of the incident in the presence of Israeli diplomats.

Netanyahus office said the return of the diplomats had been made possible thanks to close cooperation which was held in the past day between Israel and Jordan.

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Israel removes metal detectors from holy site in Jerusalem – The Guardian

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Israel removes contentious metal detectors at Jerusalem site – RTE.ie

Updated / Tuesday, 25 Jul 2017 15:42

Israel removed metal detectors from entrances to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City in favour of CCTV cameras, hoping to calm days of bloodshed, but Palestinians said the modified security measures were still unacceptable.

Israel installed the detectors at entry points to the mosque compound in Jerusalem after two police guards were shot dead on 14 July, setting off the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in years.

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

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

“We reject all obstacles that hinder freedom of worship and we demand the return to the situation where things stood before July 14,” Mr Hamdallah told his cabinet in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Waqf, the religious body that runs the Islamic sites in the Al-Aqsa compound, said worshippers would continue to stay away from the elevated, marble-and-stone plaza and pray in the streets outside.

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 14 July, when the metal detectors were installed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet of senior ministers voted to remove the metal detector gates early this morning after a meeting lasting several hours.

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.

“[There was] a lot of hard work behind the scenes, discussions by senior officials in the United States, and of course, with the prime minister and with the king of Jordan, [and] we were able to defuse the situation very quickly that obviously, under other circumstances, could have not ended as successfully,” Mr Friedman said.

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

In the pre-dawn hours, municipal workers began work in some of the narrow stone-paved streets around the compound to install overhead metal beams that will hold closed-circuit TV cameras.

Israeli media said there were plans to invest in advanced camera systems.

The cabinet statement added that it had allocated up to 100 million shekels (24m) for the equipment and for additional policing over the next six months.

CCTV images indicated that the two Israeli police officers on guard duty were shot dead by three Israeli Arabs who had concealed weapons inside the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third most sacred site.

The dispute, like many in the Middle East, is about much more than security devices, taking in issues of sovereignty, religious freedom, occupation and Palestinian nationalism.

The walled Old City is part of East Jerusalem that Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war and later annexed, declaring the city its “eternal indivisible capital” in a move not recognised internationally.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state they are seeking.

The decision to remove the metal detector gates was an about-turn after the rightist Mr Netanyahu, wary of being seen to capitulate to Palestinian pressure, pledged on Sunday that the devices would stay put.

But on top of the outbreak of violence mainly in the Jerusalem area, a move on Friday by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to suspend security coordination, plus international criticism, increased pressure on Israel.

Mr Netanyahu was further hampered by a fatal shooting at the Israeli Embassy in Jordan on Sunday when an Israeli security guard was attacked and shot dead two Jordanians.

Jordan is the custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites, which Jews revere as the vestige of their two ancient temples.

Jordan’s King Abdullah has called on Israel to return to the pre-14 July status quo and lift all unilateral measures taken since the attack on the policemen.

Jews and anyone else visiting the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews are permitted to pray, at the foot of the Al-Aqsa compound must pass through airport-style security screening, including metal detectors.

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Israel removes contentious metal detectors at Jerusalem site – RTE.ie

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Hamas member convicted in Austria for planned attacks in Jerusalem – The Jerusalem Post

Hamas soldiers in Gaza. (photo credit:IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)

An Austrian court sentenced on Monday a Palestinian asylum-seeker to life in prison for organizing suicide attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem and his membership in the US and EU designated terrorist organization Hamas.

The Austrian daily Kurier reported the 27-year-old man “was raised in the Gaza Strip and,according to the charges, was a member of Hamas who called on men on social media to launch attacks in Jerusalem.”

The Palestinian confirmed his membership in Hamas at the trial in the city of Krems in the state of Lower Austria. The convicted man used phone messages to encourage Palestinians to toss grenades at gatherings of people in Jerusalem. He sought to murder Jews in Jerusalem, according to reports.

The code word he used for hand grenades was “apples.”

The Palestinian, who was arrested last year in an asylum center, plans to appeal the verdict. Reports on the Hamas member did not cite his name because of privacy laws in the central European country. In the past he served a nine-year sentence in Israel for violence against Israeli soldiers.

The judge overseeing the trial termed the man’s criminal planning “perfidious.” She said the crime required a strong penalty to send a message to the Palestinian man that this is not the right behavior for him. An investigator who worked on the case said at the trial that he was convinced that the Palestinian was a member of the radical Islamic organization Hamas.

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Israel Removes Metal Detectors at Jerusalem Holy Site – Wall Street Journal (subscription)


Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Israel Removes Metal Detectors at Jerusalem Holy Site
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
TEL AVIVIsrael on Tuesday removed metal detectors from one of Jerusalem's holiest sites, a concession that failed to immediately appease Muslims angry over what they see as an attempt to control the compound. The dismantling of the security system at …

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Analysis: Can Israeli-Jordanian ties survive Temple Mount violence? – The Jerusalem Post

I said we would bring you home and you have returned home, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli security guard by telephone minutes after he crossed out of Jordan over the Allenby Bridge together with the embassy staff.

Their passage late Monday night marked a quick end to a crisis with Jordan over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem that had quickly threatened to escalate out of control by an incident on Sunday, which Israel called a terror attack and the Jordanian public viewed as case of murder.

Netanyahus office released a photograph of the phone call that showed the Israeli premiere smiling at the resolution of a situation that could have led to a break down of diplomatic ties with Jordan by the sheer nature of the emotions involved.

It would have been a move that ran counter to Israels larger regional security interests. The Hashemite monarchy is often described as Israels most stable regional partner, particularly at time of regime change and radicalization in other Middle Eastern countries.

But the strong financial and military ties between the two governments who signed a peace treaty in 1994, is often tested by Jordans pro-Palestinian stance and its special custodial role with regard to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third in Islam. Muslims refer to the compound as the Al-Haram/Al-Sharif.

When the shooting incident took place Sunday, the two countries were already at odds over an Israeli decision last week to put metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The installation of the new security measure came following a terror attack in which two Israeli policemen were killed on Friday, July 14, sparking a crisis with both the Palestinians and Jordan.

In spite of the mounting daily Palestinian protests at the entrance to the Temple Mount and the larger unifying calls against Israel in the Muslim world, Netanyahu was loath to back down lest it be perceived as a sign of weakness. He was also under pressure from the right flank of his party to stand strong on the matter.

Jordan’s King Abdullah was under similar political pressure to take a stand against Israel over the Temple Mount, while also seeking to avoid a crisis with Israel and the US, with whom he is strongly aligned.

Rather then breaking off ties, both leaders used the shooting incident to wager a behind the scenes deal that allowed both Netanyahu and King Abdullah to claim victory. There was no formal declaration of a quid per quo, but the events went like this:

On Sunday night, Mohammad Jawawdeh, 16, stabbed the Israeli embassy security guard in the stomach with a screwdriver while moving furniture into his apartment in the embassys compound in Amman.

The guard immediately defended himself by shooting and killing Jawawdeh. He also fatally wounded the buildings owner who was at the scene. According to The Jordan Times the owner, Bashar Kamel Hamarneh, was an orthopedic surgeon.

Jawawdehs family declared his innocence and cries quickly grew in Jordan for the arrest of the Israeli security guard on charges of murder for both deaths.

But on Monday night, at around 11 p.m. the guard along with the embassy staff, including Jordans Ambassador to Israel Einat Schlein, crossed over the Allenby Bridge from Jordan Israel.

A few hours later a message from the Prime MInisters Office announced that the security cabinet had decided to remove the metal detectors.

Netanyahu thanked US President Donald Trump for working to resolve the issue both through his son-in-law Jared Kushner and by sending his envoy Jason Greenblatt to the region. He also expressed his gratitude to King Abdullah.

Jordan then said that its investigation showed that the incident stemmed from a disagreement with regard to the furniture, but that the guard had opened fire after he was attacked, thereby providing justification for the permission granted for him to leave the country.

It is not the first time that Netanyahu has made such a deal with Jordan. The most serious crisis between the two countries occurred in September 1997, during Netanyahus first term as prime minister.

The fledgling ties were first threaten in March when a Jordanian soldier Ahmed Daqamseh killed seven Israeli school girls from the AMIT Fuerst Zionist junior high school in Beit Shemesh while they were on a field trip to the Island of Peace on the edge of the Jordan River. Another six or seven school girls were injured.

Jordan’s leader at the time, King Hussein, traveled to Israel and paid a condolence call to the families of the slain girls and visited the injured in the hospital.

Daqamseh was tried in Jordan and sentenced to a 20-year jail term. He has since been released.

This was followed by a much larger crisis in September 25th when two Mossad agents poisoned Khaled Mashal, who at the time was the head of Hamas in Jordan.

The plot was foiled when Jordanian security forces captured the two Mossad agents. US President Bill Clinton intervened.

Under threat of sabotaging the fledgling peace deal, the situation was resolved by a behind the scenes deal that a number of outstanding issues.

Netanyahu agreed to provide the antidote to the poison. Israel also released Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners, including Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Israel would later assassinate him in 2004.

In return, Jordan freed the two Mossad agents it had held in jail and allowed them to return to Israel.

That deal much like this one, appears to be a testament to the strength of the ties between the two countries that rest heavily on mutual interest particularly at time when radical forces linked to Islam, such as ISIS, are fighting for control of the region.

Jordan geographically straddles the divide divide moderate and extremist forces in the region. It borders both Israel and two countries where ISIS forces are located, Syria and Iraq.

King Abdullah has historically had close ties with the US, including with US President Donald Trump who he has spoken with in person twice since the American president took office in January.

Jordan received more than $1 billion annually in financial assistance from the US It is an important partner in the American led coalition against ISIS and the two countries have led joint military exercises.

Such aid is important to Jordan where unemployment is high and where the population has grown from 6.6 million in 2010 to 9.7 million in 2017. Similarly Jordan is helped financialy by Israel. The two countries signed a 15-year natural gas deal in 2014. This was followed a year later by a massive water deal. Jordan also uses Israeli ports for to export and import goods to make up for the loss of it former trade route that traversed regions that are now in conflict.

But King Abdullah must balance these financial concerns with the politics of staying in power in a country, where one third of the population is Palestinian and the mood on the street is anti-Israel.

In November 2014 King Abdullah withdrew the Jordanian Ambassador for three months, after clashes broke out between the Israeli police and Muslim worshipers on the edge of the Temple Mount.

Less than a year later, in the fall of 2015, tensions broke out once again over Jordanian fears that Israeli security measures had shattered the status quo on the Temple Mount that limits prayers to Muslim worshipers. Comments to that effect by Palestinian and Jordanian leaders helped spark a wave of violence that lead to the deaths of 55 people in terror attacks.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the region to broker a deal, that was never actualized, in which Israel would be able to place security cameras on the Temple Mount.

The resolution of the latest Temple Mount flare up, could be seen as a positive sign for Netanyahus continued assertion that for moderate countries, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is less of a priority then the lager regional battle radicalized forces.

But the dizzying speed by which relations with Israels most stable regional partner almost fell apart is also a reminder of the force of the conflict within the larger political configuration or the Middle East, particularly when it crosses the line into a religious battle.

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Analysis: Can Israeli-Jordanian ties survive Temple Mount violence? – The Jerusalem Post

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Israel removes flashpoint metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site – BBC News


BBC News
Israel removes flashpoint metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site
BBC News
Israel has removed metal detectors from outside a holy site in East Jerusalem after uproar from Palestinians over their recent introduction. It said it plans to replace them with less obtrusive surveillance. However Muslim leaders have called on
Metal Detectors Vanish, but Tensions in East Jerusalem RemainNew York Times
How one of Jerusalem's holiest sites became the center of a deadly crisisVox
Israel removes metal detectors at entrance to Jerusalem holy siteFinancial Times
ABC Online
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Israel removes metal detectors from Jerusalem holy site – Irish Times

about 14 hours ago Updated: about 2 hours ago

Israel removed metal detectors from entrances to the Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalems Old City on Tuesday in favour of CCTV cameras, hoping to calm days of bloodshed, but Palestinians said the modified security measures were still unacceptable.

Israel installed the detectors at entry points to Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem after two police guards were fatally shot on July 14th, setting off the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in years.

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

All parties should work to reduce these tensions and we offer whatever assistance we can in helping to do this, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council in New York. At the holy sites, its vital that both access and security be ensured. Washington has already held talks with Israel and Jordan to help resolve the crisis.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the senior Muslim cleric who oversees Al-Aqsa compound both dismissed the new Israeli measures and demanded all of them be removed.

All new Israeli measures put in place since [July 14th] must be removed so things can go back to normal in Jerusalem and we can resume our work regarding bilateral relations, Mr Abbas said at the beginning of a meeting with the Palestinian leadership.

The Waqf, the religious body that runs the Islamic sites in the Al-Aqsa compound, said worshippers would continue to stay away from the elevated, marble-and-stone plaza Islams third holiest site and pray in the streets outside.

Jews revere the compound as the place where two ancient temples once stood.

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.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahus security cabinet of senior ministers voted to remove the metal detector gates early on Tuesday after a meeting lasting several hours.

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

Municipal workers began work in some of the narrow stone-paved streets around the Aqsa compound to instal overhead metal beams that will hold closed-circuit TV cameras. Israeli media said there were plans to invest in advanced camera systems.

The cabinet statement added that it had allocated up to 100 million shekels (24 million) for the equipment and for additional policing over the next six months.

CCTV images indicated that the two Israeli police officers on guard duty were shot dead by three Israeli Arabs who had concealed weapons inside the Aqsa compound.

The dispute, like many in the Holy Land, is about much more than security devices, taking in issues of sovereignty, religious freedom, occupation and Palestinian nationalism. Muslims refer to the compound as the Noble Sanctuary while Jews call it the Temple Mount.

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said Israel stood to lose most in the dispute and echoed calls for the removal of new security systems. I have heard of Israels decision to remove the metal detectors, and I hope the rest will follow…We expect Israel to take steps for the peace of the region.

The walled Old City is part of East Jerusalem that Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war and later annexed, declaring the city its eternal indivisible capital in a move not recognised internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state they are seeking.

But on top of the outbreak of violence mainly in the Jerusalem area, a move on Friday by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to suspend security co-ordination, plus international criticism, cranked up pressure on Israel.

Mr Netanyahu was further hampered by a fatal shooting at the Israeli embassy in Jordan on Sunday when an Israeli security guard was attacked and shot dead two Jordanians.

A crowd of Jordanians gathered at one of the funerals on Tuesday and called on their government to close the Israeli Embassy.

Jordan is the custodian of Jerusalems Muslim holy sites and King Abdullah has called on Israel to return to the pre-July 14th status quo and lift all unilateral measures taken since the attack on the policemen.

Jews and anyone else visiting the ancient Western Wall the holiest site where Jews are permitted to pray at the foot of the Aqsa compound must pass through airport-style security screening, including metal detectors.

Reuters

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Video: Israel attacks Jerusalem worshippers – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Maureen Clare Murphy Rights and Accountability 26 July 2017 Palestinians pray outside the Lions Gate to Jerusalems al-Aqsa mosque on 24 July. Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian worshippers at the Lions Gate entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Tuesday night. The Palestinian Quds news outlet reported that Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters, wounding dozens, and prevented ambulances from reaching the area. Palestinian worshippers had continued to keep vigil outside the mosque compound on Tuesday. The Waqf religious trust that administers the site had called for continuation of a boycott as it evaluated the situation after Israel removed metal detectors the night before. The metal detectors had been unilaterally installed along with security cameras following a shooting attack that left two Israeli police officers and three suspected Palestinian assailants dead earlier in the month. Israel claims that the alleged assailants ambushed the police officers from the compound. The new Israeli measures were met with vigorous Palestinian protest and civil disobedience as well as international warnings against any change to the delicate status quo at the highly sensitive holy site. Four Palestinians were shot dead during protests in the Jerusalem area and hundreds more demonstrators were wounded throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza over the weekend. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors but not the security cameras late Monday night. Israeli media reported that the cabinet decided to replace the metal detectors with security cameras that have facial recognition capabilities and are connected to a biometric database. Israeli journalists reported late Tuesday night that Netanyahu had directed Gilad Erdan, Israels public security minister, and police to conduct body checks on anyone who enters the mosque compound: Meanwhile Avi Dichter, a senior Israeli lawmaker from Netanyahus Likud party who formerly headed the countrys secret police, told Israeli television that the government had decided to turn the Temple Mount into a sterile area with all that this entails, employing the term Israel uses for the mosque compound. The Temple Mount is under Israeli sovereignty, period, he said. No country recognizes Israels claim to sovereignty over East Jerusalem, which is part of the occupied West Bank. Dichter is one of many Israeli leaders openly advocating for greater Israeli control if not an outright takeover of the site, one of the holiest shrines for Muslims and a touchstone of Palestinian identity. Several Israeli lawmakers openly support a government-funded extremist movement which seeks to destroy Islamic holy sites at the al-Aqsa mosque compound and replace them with a Jewish temple. Palestinians view Israels measures at al-Aqsa as part of an effort to erase all Palestinian life in the city, like it has in the area of the historic Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, where an American Jewish settler massacred Palestinian worshippers in 1994. Video shows hundreds of Palestinians gathered at Lions Gate pledging to defend al-Aqsa on Tuesday night: Videos show terrifying scenes as Israeli forces fire on the crowd of men, women and children: Israeli forces shot crowd control weapons at people running away from them: Children were said to be among those injured: Journalists were also among those assaulted on Tuesday, including Faiz Abu Rmeleh, whose photographs have been published by The Electronic Intifada. Video posted by the Activestills collective, of which Abu Rmeleh is a member, show his assault and subsequent arrest: Journalist Fatima al-Bakri was also injured. The Committee to Protect Journalists had previously reported that at least six Palestinian journalists were injured while covering al-Aqsa protests on 20 and 21 July. Sinan Abu Maizer, a cameraman for Reuters, was filming at Lions Gate on 20 July when he was hit on the head with a police baton, causing a concussion and an open wound. Mirna Alatrash, a reporter with the Maan News Agency, was hit in the face with a tear gas canister while covering a protest at a checkpoint in Bethlehem on 21 July while her colleague Muhammad Lahham collapsed from tear gas inhalation. Rami al-Khatib, a freelance photographer, was punched in the chest by an Israeli officer when he presented the officer with his press card, a Palestinian press freedom group told the Committee to Protect Journalists. Other reporters were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and sound bombs. Al-Makassed hospital in Jerusalem reported receiving 10 patients injured by tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets on Tuesday, most of them journalists and paramedics. The hospital has been stormed by Israeli soldiers and police twice over the past week, terrifying staff and patients and in some cases preventing doctors from providing emergency medical care to critically injured patients, Amnesty International stated on Tuesday. Hospital staff told Amnesty that on 21 July, around 200 heavily armed soldiers surrounded the hospital and entered forcefully, arresting people in their path and using tear gas. They were pursuing a young man with a major chest wound in critical condition and followed him all the way to the operating theater. They invaded the entire hospital They even entered the neonatal unit What do they want in there? It was pure terrorization of the patients, Talal al-Sayed, head of reception at al-Makassed, told Amnesty. I have never been so scared in my life. All I remember were loud sounds and pushing and screaming. It was total chaos, said a nurse who was on duty at the time of the raid. There was blood all over the place on the floor, on the walls. Video uploaded to social media showed the body of Muhammad Abu Ghanam, a Palestinian youth shot and fatally wounded by police that same day, being smuggled out of the hospital before Israeli forces could confiscate his remains. The conduct of Israeli forces who carried out violent raids on al-Makassed hospital harassing and intimidating staff and patients is utterly deplorable, stated Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnestys deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. There can be no justification for preventing medical workers from caring for a critically wounded patient.

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Israel Removes Metal Detectors from Jerusalem Holy Site But Anger Remains – NBCNews.com

Israel on Tuesday dismantled metal detectors it installed a week earlier at a contested Jerusalem shrine, hoping to defuse a crisis with the Muslim world, including security ally Jordan, the Muslim custodian of the holy site. The removal of the devices followed the resolution of a 24-hour diplomatic standoff with Jordan over a deadly shooting at the Israeli Embassy in the kingdom, suggesting a broader deal had been struck. However, there were signs Tuesday that the crisis over the shrine, revered by Muslims and Jews, was not over yet. Israel announced it would replace the metal detectors with new security measures. This would include “advanced technologies,” reportedly sophisticated cameras, and additional police deployments. Muslim leaders had demanded that security arrangements go back to what they were before the metal detectors were erected. Ikrema Sabri, a senior Muslim cleric, said Tuesday that Muslims should stay away from the shrine, pending a review of the new Israeli measures. The review could be completed by the end of the day. “Our position is that for now, nobody should enter,” he told The Associated Press. The 37-acre esplanade in Jerusalem’s Old City is the third holiest site of Islam and the holiest of Judaism, once home to biblical Temples. It sits on the fault line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and triggered several major confrontations in the past. Israel had erected metal detectors at the gates to the Muslim-administered site last week, after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police guards there. The move incensed the Muslim world, amid allegations that Israel was trying to expand control over the site under the guise of security a claim Israel denies. Israeli security forces remove metal detectors at an entrance to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July 25. Ammar Awad / Reuters Large crowds of Muslim worshippers prayed outside the shrine in protest every day, refusing to pass through the metal detectors. Israel has denied it has a hidden agenda, portraying the metal detectors as a needed means to prevent attacks. The diplomatic crisis with Jordan over the embassy shooting lent more urgency to finding a solution. Israel’s security Cabinet, meanwhile, announced it would replace the metal detectors with “advanced technologies,” reportedly cameras that can detect hidden objects. The Cabinet said police would increase the deployment of forces until the new measures are in place. The statement said the government would budget $28 million to implement the security plan over a period of “up to six months.” President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Netanyahu before the decision was announced, a sign of the first direct involvement of the U.S. administration since the crisis began. Greenblatt then headed to Jordan.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Israel removes metal detectors from holy site in Jerusalem – The Guardian

Israeli security forces remove metal detectors recently installed at al-Aqsa mosque compound. Photograph: Ammar Awad/Reuters Israel is removing metal detectors from entrances to the compound that houses al-Aqsa mosque. The move was announced late on Monday night by the office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and is designed to end a crisis over the holy site. Days of violent confrontations have claimed seven lives. Despite the Israeli announcement, however, a senior Muslim cleric in Jerusalem said worshippers should stay away from the shrine pending a review of the new Israeli security arrangements there. Ikrema Sabri, the head of the Supreme Islamic Committee in the city, said such a review may be completed later on Tuesday. Sabri said: Our position is that for now, nobody should enter the shrine. The removal of the detectors on Tuesday appeared to be part of a deal under which Israeli diplomats were repatriated from Jordan, including an embassy security guard who was involved in a fatal shooting of two Jordanians on Sunday night. The brief statement said the Israeli security cabinet, which met on Monday evening, had accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies (smart checks) and other measures instead of metal detectors in order to ensure the security of visitors and worshippers in the Old City and on the Temple Mount. The statement added that under the plan Israeli police would reinforce their presence around the holy site. It did not say when the metal detectors would be removed or what would replace them. Israeli media earlier reported that high-resolution cameras capable of detecting hidden objects would be the alternative. Earlier on Monday the UNs Middle East envoy warned of the dangers of allowing the crisis to continue. It is extremely important that a solution to the current crisis be found by Friday this week, Nickolay Mladenov said after briefing the UN security council. The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday prayer without a resolution. He said events in east Jerusalem were not localised but affect millions if not billions of people around the world. Even before the Israeli decision to remove the devices, it was unclear whether such a move would be sufficient to end the violence. Muslim religious officials who allege Israel is trying to expand its control at the site said they would accept only a return to the arrangements for access to the compound that had been in place before an incident on 14 Julywhen two Israeli policemen were shot by three Israeli Arab gunmen who had smuggled weapons on to the site. This movement is a movement of the street, said Sheikh Raed Dana of the waqf, the Islamic endowments organisation that administers the mosque compound, commenting on whether he believed worshippers should end protests and return to the shrine. We as the waqf listen to the street. The street says yes and we say yes; if the street says no to the measures, we will say no. There has been increasing criticism of the way the metal detectors were installed, without consultation with the waqf and reportedly over the objections of senior Israeli security officials who had warned of the risk of bloodshed. On Monday night Israeli diplomats were evacuated from the embassy in the Jordanian capital, Amman, after Sundays shooting of two Jordanians by a security guard. The diplomats, including Israels ambassador to Jordan, Einat Schlain, crossed the Allenby bridge border in a convoy, arriving back in Israel at around 11pm. Among those repatriated were the security guard whom Jordan had originally said it wanted to retain for questioning over the incident. A Jordanian news site linked to the kingdoms military said investigators had determined that the altercation at the embassy compound was not politically motivated and that one of the Jordanians, a 17-year-old, had attacked the guard with a screwdriver in a dispute about a furniture delivery. Under an agreement negotiated by the head of Israels domestic security service, who had been sent to Amman to negotiate, Israel agreed that Jordanian police could hear the guards description of the incident in the presence of Israeli diplomats. Netanyahus office said the return of the diplomats had been made possible thanks to close cooperation which was held in the past day between Israel and Jordan.

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Israel removes contentious metal detectors at Jerusalem site – RTE.ie

Updated / Tuesday, 25 Jul 2017 15:42 Israel removed metal detectors from entrances to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City in favour of CCTV cameras, hoping to calm days of bloodshed, but Palestinians said the modified security measures were still unacceptable. Israel installed the detectors at entry points to the mosque compound in Jerusalem after two police guards were shot dead on 14 July, setting off the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in years. The spike in tensions and the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in violence on Friday and Saturday raised international alarm and prompted a session of the United Nations Security Council to consider ways of defusing the crisis. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the senior Muslim cleric who oversees thecompound both turned down the new Israeli measures and demanded all of them be removed. “We reject all obstacles that hinder freedom of worship and we demand the return to the situation where things stood before July 14,” Mr Hamdallah told his cabinet in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Waqf, the religious body that runs the Islamic sites in the Al-Aqsa compound, said worshippers would continue to stay away from the elevated, marble-and-stone plaza and pray in the streets outside. 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 14 July, when the metal detectors were installed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet of senior ministers voted to remove the metal detector gates early this morning after a meeting lasting several hours. 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. “[There was] a lot of hard work behind the scenes, discussions by senior officials in the United States, and of course, with the prime minister and with the king of Jordan, [and] we were able to defuse the situation very quickly that obviously, under other circumstances, could have not ended as successfully,” Mr Friedman said. A statement issued after the security cabinet meeting said it had decided to heed a recommendation of Israeli security bodies and replace the detectors with “smart checking” devices. In the pre-dawn hours, municipal workers began work in some of the narrow stone-paved streets around the compound to install overhead metal beams that will hold closed-circuit TV cameras. Israeli media said there were plans to invest in advanced camera systems. The cabinet statement added that it had allocated up to 100 million shekels (24m) for the equipment and for additional policing over the next six months. CCTV images indicated that the two Israeli police officers on guard duty were shot dead by three Israeli Arabs who had concealed weapons inside the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third most sacred site. The dispute, like many in the Middle East, is about much more than security devices, taking in issues of sovereignty, religious freedom, occupation and Palestinian nationalism. The walled Old City is part of East Jerusalem that Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war and later annexed, declaring the city its “eternal indivisible capital” in a move not recognised internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state they are seeking. The decision to remove the metal detector gates was an about-turn after the rightist Mr Netanyahu, wary of being seen to capitulate to Palestinian pressure, pledged on Sunday that the devices would stay put. But on top of the outbreak of violence mainly in the Jerusalem area, a move on Friday by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to suspend security coordination, plus international criticism, increased pressure on Israel. Mr Netanyahu was further hampered by a fatal shooting at the Israeli Embassy in Jordan on Sunday when an Israeli security guard was attacked and shot dead two Jordanians. Jordan is the custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites, which Jews revere as the vestige of their two ancient temples. Jordan’s King Abdullah has called on Israel to return to the pre-14 July status quo and lift all unilateral measures taken since the attack on the policemen. Jews and anyone else visiting the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews are permitted to pray, at the foot of the Al-Aqsa compound must pass through airport-style security screening, including metal detectors.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Hamas member convicted in Austria for planned attacks in Jerusalem – The Jerusalem Post

Hamas soldiers in Gaza. (photo credit:IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS) An Austrian court sentenced on Monday a Palestinian asylum-seeker to life in prison for organizing suicide attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem and his membership in the US and EU designated terrorist organization Hamas. The Austrian daily Kurier reported the 27-year-old man “was raised in the Gaza Strip and,according to the charges, was a member of Hamas who called on men on social media to launch attacks in Jerusalem.” The Palestinian confirmed his membership in Hamas at the trial in the city of Krems in the state of Lower Austria. The convicted man used phone messages to encourage Palestinians to toss grenades at gatherings of people in Jerusalem. He sought to murder Jews in Jerusalem, according to reports. The code word he used for hand grenades was “apples.” The Palestinian, who was arrested last year in an asylum center, plans to appeal the verdict. Reports on the Hamas member did not cite his name because of privacy laws in the central European country. In the past he served a nine-year sentence in Israel for violence against Israeli soldiers. The judge overseeing the trial termed the man’s criminal planning “perfidious.” She said the crime required a strong penalty to send a message to the Palestinian man that this is not the right behavior for him. An investigator who worked on the case said at the trial that he was convinced that the Palestinian was a member of the radical Islamic organization Hamas. Share on facebook

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Israel Removes Metal Detectors at Jerusalem Holy Site – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Wall Street Journal (subscription) Israel Removes Metal Detectors at Jerusalem Holy Site Wall Street Journal (subscription) TEL AVIVIsrael on Tuesday removed metal detectors from one of Jerusalem's holiest sites, a concession that failed to immediately appease Muslims angry over what they see as an attempt to control the compound. The dismantling of the security system at …

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Analysis: Can Israeli-Jordanian ties survive Temple Mount violence? – The Jerusalem Post

I said we would bring you home and you have returned home, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli security guard by telephone minutes after he crossed out of Jordan over the Allenby Bridge together with the embassy staff. Their passage late Monday night marked a quick end to a crisis with Jordan over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem that had quickly threatened to escalate out of control by an incident on Sunday, which Israel called a terror attack and the Jordanian public viewed as case of murder. Netanyahus office released a photograph of the phone call that showed the Israeli premiere smiling at the resolution of a situation that could have led to a break down of diplomatic ties with Jordan by the sheer nature of the emotions involved. It would have been a move that ran counter to Israels larger regional security interests. The Hashemite monarchy is often described as Israels most stable regional partner, particularly at time of regime change and radicalization in other Middle Eastern countries. But the strong financial and military ties between the two governments who signed a peace treaty in 1994, is often tested by Jordans pro-Palestinian stance and its special custodial role with regard to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third in Islam. Muslims refer to the compound as the Al-Haram/Al-Sharif. When the shooting incident took place Sunday, the two countries were already at odds over an Israeli decision last week to put metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The installation of the new security measure came following a terror attack in which two Israeli policemen were killed on Friday, July 14, sparking a crisis with both the Palestinians and Jordan. In spite of the mounting daily Palestinian protests at the entrance to the Temple Mount and the larger unifying calls against Israel in the Muslim world, Netanyahu was loath to back down lest it be perceived as a sign of weakness. He was also under pressure from the right flank of his party to stand strong on the matter. Jordan’s King Abdullah was under similar political pressure to take a stand against Israel over the Temple Mount, while also seeking to avoid a crisis with Israel and the US, with whom he is strongly aligned. Rather then breaking off ties, both leaders used the shooting incident to wager a behind the scenes deal that allowed both Netanyahu and King Abdullah to claim victory. There was no formal declaration of a quid per quo, but the events went like this: On Sunday night, Mohammad Jawawdeh, 16, stabbed the Israeli embassy security guard in the stomach with a screwdriver while moving furniture into his apartment in the embassys compound in Amman. The guard immediately defended himself by shooting and killing Jawawdeh. He also fatally wounded the buildings owner who was at the scene. According to The Jordan Times the owner, Bashar Kamel Hamarneh, was an orthopedic surgeon. Jawawdehs family declared his innocence and cries quickly grew in Jordan for the arrest of the Israeli security guard on charges of murder for both deaths. But on Monday night, at around 11 p.m. the guard along with the embassy staff, including Jordans Ambassador to Israel Einat Schlein, crossed over the Allenby Bridge from Jordan Israel. A few hours later a message from the Prime MInisters Office announced that the security cabinet had decided to remove the metal detectors. Netanyahu thanked US President Donald Trump for working to resolve the issue both through his son-in-law Jared Kushner and by sending his envoy Jason Greenblatt to the region. He also expressed his gratitude to King Abdullah. Jordan then said that its investigation showed that the incident stemmed from a disagreement with regard to the furniture, but that the guard had opened fire after he was attacked, thereby providing justification for the permission granted for him to leave the country. It is not the first time that Netanyahu has made such a deal with Jordan. The most serious crisis between the two countries occurred in September 1997, during Netanyahus first term as prime minister. The fledgling ties were first threaten in March when a Jordanian soldier Ahmed Daqamseh killed seven Israeli school girls from the AMIT Fuerst Zionist junior high school in Beit Shemesh while they were on a field trip to the Island of Peace on the edge of the Jordan River. Another six or seven school girls were injured. Jordan’s leader at the time, King Hussein, traveled to Israel and paid a condolence call to the families of the slain girls and visited the injured in the hospital. Daqamseh was tried in Jordan and sentenced to a 20-year jail term. He has since been released. This was followed by a much larger crisis in September 25th when two Mossad agents poisoned Khaled Mashal, who at the time was the head of Hamas in Jordan. The plot was foiled when Jordanian security forces captured the two Mossad agents. US President Bill Clinton intervened. Under threat of sabotaging the fledgling peace deal, the situation was resolved by a behind the scenes deal that a number of outstanding issues. Netanyahu agreed to provide the antidote to the poison. Israel also released Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners, including Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Israel would later assassinate him in 2004. In return, Jordan freed the two Mossad agents it had held in jail and allowed them to return to Israel. That deal much like this one, appears to be a testament to the strength of the ties between the two countries that rest heavily on mutual interest particularly at time when radical forces linked to Islam, such as ISIS, are fighting for control of the region. Jordan geographically straddles the divide divide moderate and extremist forces in the region. It borders both Israel and two countries where ISIS forces are located, Syria and Iraq. King Abdullah has historically had close ties with the US, including with US President Donald Trump who he has spoken with in person twice since the American president took office in January. Jordan received more than $1 billion annually in financial assistance from the US It is an important partner in the American led coalition against ISIS and the two countries have led joint military exercises. Such aid is important to Jordan where unemployment is high and where the population has grown from 6.6 million in 2010 to 9.7 million in 2017. Similarly Jordan is helped financialy by Israel. The two countries signed a 15-year natural gas deal in 2014. This was followed a year later by a massive water deal. Jordan also uses Israeli ports for to export and import goods to make up for the loss of it former trade route that traversed regions that are now in conflict. But King Abdullah must balance these financial concerns with the politics of staying in power in a country, where one third of the population is Palestinian and the mood on the street is anti-Israel. In November 2014 King Abdullah withdrew the Jordanian Ambassador for three months, after clashes broke out between the Israeli police and Muslim worshipers on the edge of the Temple Mount. Less than a year later, in the fall of 2015, tensions broke out once again over Jordanian fears that Israeli security measures had shattered the status quo on the Temple Mount that limits prayers to Muslim worshipers. Comments to that effect by Palestinian and Jordanian leaders helped spark a wave of violence that lead to the deaths of 55 people in terror attacks. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the region to broker a deal, that was never actualized, in which Israel would be able to place security cameras on the Temple Mount. The resolution of the latest Temple Mount flare up, could be seen as a positive sign for Netanyahus continued assertion that for moderate countries, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is less of a priority then the lager regional battle radicalized forces. But the dizzying speed by which relations with Israels most stable regional partner almost fell apart is also a reminder of the force of the conflict within the larger political configuration or the Middle East, particularly when it crosses the line into a religious battle. Share on facebook

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Israel removes flashpoint metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site – BBC News

BBC News Israel removes flashpoint metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site BBC News Israel has removed metal detectors from outside a holy site in East Jerusalem after uproar from Palestinians over their recent introduction. It said it plans to replace them with less obtrusive surveillance. However Muslim leaders have called on … Metal Detectors Vanish, but Tensions in East Jerusalem Remain New York Times How one of Jerusalem's holiest sites became the center of a deadly crisis Vox Israel removes metal detectors at entrance to Jerusalem holy site Financial Times ABC Online all 5,181 news articles »

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Israel removes metal detectors from Jerusalem holy site – Irish Times

about 14 hours ago Updated: about 2 hours ago Israel removed metal detectors from entrances to the Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalems Old City on Tuesday in favour of CCTV cameras, hoping to calm days of bloodshed, but Palestinians said the modified security measures were still unacceptable. Israel installed the detectors at entry points to Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem after two police guards were fatally shot on July 14th, setting off the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in years. The spike in tensions and the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in violence on Friday and Saturday raised international alarm and prompted a session of the United Nations Security Council to consider ways of defusing the crisis. All parties should work to reduce these tensions and we offer whatever assistance we can in helping to do this, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council in New York. At the holy sites, its vital that both access and security be ensured. Washington has already held talks with Israel and Jordan to help resolve the crisis. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the senior Muslim cleric who oversees Al-Aqsa compound both dismissed the new Israeli measures and demanded all of them be removed. All new Israeli measures put in place since [July 14th] must be removed so things can go back to normal in Jerusalem and we can resume our work regarding bilateral relations, Mr Abbas said at the beginning of a meeting with the Palestinian leadership. The Waqf, the religious body that runs the Islamic sites in the Al-Aqsa compound, said worshippers would continue to stay away from the elevated, marble-and-stone plaza Islams third holiest site and pray in the streets outside. Jews revere the compound as the place where two ancient temples once stood. 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. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahus security cabinet of senior ministers voted to remove the metal detector gates early on Tuesday after a meeting lasting several hours. A statement issued after the security cabinet meeting said it had decided to heed a recommendation of Israeli security bodies and replace the detectors with smart checking devices. Municipal workers began work in some of the narrow stone-paved streets around the Aqsa compound to instal overhead metal beams that will hold closed-circuit TV cameras. Israeli media said there were plans to invest in advanced camera systems. The cabinet statement added that it had allocated up to 100 million shekels (24 million) for the equipment and for additional policing over the next six months. CCTV images indicated that the two Israeli police officers on guard duty were shot dead by three Israeli Arabs who had concealed weapons inside the Aqsa compound. The dispute, like many in the Holy Land, is about much more than security devices, taking in issues of sovereignty, religious freedom, occupation and Palestinian nationalism. Muslims refer to the compound as the Noble Sanctuary while Jews call it the Temple Mount. Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said Israel stood to lose most in the dispute and echoed calls for the removal of new security systems. I have heard of Israels decision to remove the metal detectors, and I hope the rest will follow…We expect Israel to take steps for the peace of the region. The walled Old City is part of East Jerusalem that Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war and later annexed, declaring the city its eternal indivisible capital in a move not recognised internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state they are seeking. But on top of the outbreak of violence mainly in the Jerusalem area, a move on Friday by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to suspend security co-ordination, plus international criticism, cranked up pressure on Israel. Mr Netanyahu was further hampered by a fatal shooting at the Israeli embassy in Jordan on Sunday when an Israeli security guard was attacked and shot dead two Jordanians. A crowd of Jordanians gathered at one of the funerals on Tuesday and called on their government to close the Israeli Embassy. Jordan is the custodian of Jerusalems Muslim holy sites and King Abdullah has called on Israel to return to the pre-July 14th status quo and lift all unilateral measures taken since the attack on the policemen. Jews and anyone else visiting the ancient Western Wall the holiest site where Jews are permitted to pray at the foot of the Aqsa compound must pass through airport-style security screening, including metal detectors. Reuters

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