Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

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

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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
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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
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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Israel removes metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site – New York Post

Israel has announced that it will be removing metal detectors from entrances at a major holy site in Jerusalem which angered Muslims and led to violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus security cabinet voted to do away with the devices after two days of deliberations.

Photos taken by the Associated Press showed workers at the shrine known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif dismantling the metal detectors early Tuesday.

Security officials said the move will ultimately ensure the security of visitors and worshipers at the holy site and in Jerusalems Old City.

They added that authorities will also boost their forces in the area and add high-resolution cameras as a result.

The Security Cabinet 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, officials explained in a press release.

The metal detectors were installed earlier this month after Arab gunmen killed two police officers at the shrine. The suspects allegedly smuggled their weapons into the site sparking fears that others could do the same thing.

After the detectors were implemented, Muslims began protesting against their usage and getting into violent clashes with Israeli security forces.

Three individuals were killed last week all Palestinians during demonstrations in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

With Post wires

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Israel installs security cameras as Jerusalem tensions build …

The security cameras are in addition to metal detectors placed last week at the Lion’s Gate entrance to the site, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.

The metal detectors — seen by Palestinians and Arab countries as an attempt by Israel to unilaterally exert control over the holy site — triggered widespread protests across Jerusalem and the West Bank. The added installation of security cameras is liable to spark more protests.

– Israel installed security cameras near the entrance to Old City of Jerusalem holy site early Sunday morning.

– New decisions about security measures in the Old City could be made at a Sunday night Israeli security cabinet meeting.

– Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended contact, including security coordination, between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

– Four Palestinians were killed in ongoing demonstrations against Israeli security forces Friday and Saturday.

The Arab League has postponed its emergency meeting to address rising tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, the organization said on its Facebook and Twitter accounts on Sunday. The meeting, originally set for Wednesday, is to be held on Thursday.

The delay was to ensure a large number of Arab foreign ministers could participate in the meeting, according to Kuwait’s news agency KUNA.

“Jerusalem is a red line that Arabs and Muslims wouldn’t allow to be crossed,” said Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit in a statement. “Israel is playing with fire and is risking sparking a crisis with the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often touted improving relations with Sunni Muslim states in the Middle East, understood to mean Saudi Arabia, though Israel has no diplomatic relations with the Saudis.

On Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for “moderation and dialogue” at his weekly address from St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. “I ask you to join me in prayer for the Lord to inspire in all sides proposals for reconciliation and peace,” he said.

At Sunday’s weekly government meeting, Netanyahu said Israel is constantly monitoring the security situation in Jerusalem and will “decide accordingly” what actions to take. A security cabinet meeting scheduled for Sunday night could bring a new decision about the metal detectors and other security measures taken in the Old City of Jerusalem.

“We are conducting this calmly, determinedly and responsibly and thus we will continue to act in order to maintain security,” Netanyahu said.

President Abbas suspended all contacts between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government on Friday in protest of the metal detectors. The suspension includes the rare move of freezing security coordination, seen as a bedrock of Israeli-Palestinian relations. An Israeli military official said they are “evaluating and assessing what the declarations mean on the ground,” calling it a “complex reality.”

On Sunday, a shooting at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman left a Jordanian dead and an Israeli and a Jordanian wounded, Jordan’s Public Security Department said, according to a report by Jordan’s official Petra news agency.

The motive is unclear and there’s no evidence the incident is connected to the tensions in Jerusalem. the department said.

The department said police rushed to the scene of the incident and evacuated the three for treatment. A Jordanian was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.

Local media in Jordan, including one affiliated with the armed forces, are reporting heavy security presence around the embassy.

A significant percentage of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian origin and a Jordanian religious authority, the Waqf, administers the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary.

On Friday, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest the situation in Jerusalem.

Earlier in the weekend, on Friday night, three Israelis were killed in their home in the West Bank settlement of Halamish when police say a young Palestinian man breached the settlement’s security fence and stabbed them to death. Yosef Solomon, 70, and his son, Elad, and daughter, Chaya, died in the attack. Their funerals will take place Sunday evening.

Netanyahu said Israel would look to destroy the home of the attacker as soon as possible, a routine measure intended as a deterrent against future attacks.

The Israeli military arrested more than 20 Palestinians in an overnight sweep on Sunday near the site of Friday night’s attack, according to an Israeli military official. The Palestinians were suspected of preparing attacks in the immediate future or of being members of the militant group Hamas, the official said.

Meanwhile, four Palestinians have been killed in ongoing demonstrations against Israeli security forces Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the latest Palestinian killed as Yousef Kashour, 24, from the village of el-Eizaryia.

CNN’s Sarah Sirgany, Abeer Salman, Michael Schwartz, Mohammed Najib, Kareem Khadder, Roba Alhenawi, Jomana Karadsheh and Angela Dewan contributed to this report.

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Pope calls for dialogue & moderation after Jerusalem violence – Eyewitness News

Pope calls for dialogue & moderation after Jerusalem violence

Pope Francis said he was alarmed by the recent violence in Jerusalem and called for dialogue and moderation to help restore peace.

FILE: Palestinian worshippers run for cover from teargas fired by Israeli forces outside Jerusalem’s Old City in front of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on 21 July 2017. Picture: AFP.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said on Sunday he was alarmed by the recent violence in Jerusalem and called for dialogue and moderation to help restore peace.

I am following with trepidation the grave tension and violence of recent days in Jerusalem. I feel the need to express a heartfelt call for moderation and dialogue, the pope told pilgrims gathered under blazing sunshine in St Peters Square.

He called for prayers in the hope that all sides would come forward with proposals for reconciliation and peace.

Three Israelis were stabbed to death in a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday, hours after three Palestinians were killed in violence prompted by Israels installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound in Jerusalems walled Old City.

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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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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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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. 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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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

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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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Israel removes metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site – New York Post

Israel has announced that it will be removing metal detectors from entrances at a major holy site in Jerusalem which angered Muslims and led to violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus security cabinet voted to do away with the devices after two days of deliberations. Photos taken by the Associated Press showed workers at the shrine known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif dismantling the metal detectors early Tuesday. Security officials said the move will ultimately ensure the security of visitors and worshipers at the holy site and in Jerusalems Old City. They added that authorities will also boost their forces in the area and add high-resolution cameras as a result. The Security Cabinet 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, officials explained in a press release. The metal detectors were installed earlier this month after Arab gunmen killed two police officers at the shrine. The suspects allegedly smuggled their weapons into the site sparking fears that others could do the same thing. After the detectors were implemented, Muslims began protesting against their usage and getting into violent clashes with Israeli security forces. Three individuals were killed last week all Palestinians during demonstrations in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. With Post wires

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Israel installs security cameras as Jerusalem tensions build …

The security cameras are in addition to metal detectors placed last week at the Lion’s Gate entrance to the site, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims. The metal detectors — seen by Palestinians and Arab countries as an attempt by Israel to unilaterally exert control over the holy site — triggered widespread protests across Jerusalem and the West Bank. The added installation of security cameras is liable to spark more protests. – Israel installed security cameras near the entrance to Old City of Jerusalem holy site early Sunday morning. – New decisions about security measures in the Old City could be made at a Sunday night Israeli security cabinet meeting. – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended contact, including security coordination, between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. – Four Palestinians were killed in ongoing demonstrations against Israeli security forces Friday and Saturday. The Arab League has postponed its emergency meeting to address rising tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, the organization said on its Facebook and Twitter accounts on Sunday. The meeting, originally set for Wednesday, is to be held on Thursday. The delay was to ensure a large number of Arab foreign ministers could participate in the meeting, according to Kuwait’s news agency KUNA. “Jerusalem is a red line that Arabs and Muslims wouldn’t allow to be crossed,” said Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit in a statement. “Israel is playing with fire and is risking sparking a crisis with the Arab and Muslim worlds.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often touted improving relations with Sunni Muslim states in the Middle East, understood to mean Saudi Arabia, though Israel has no diplomatic relations with the Saudis. On Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for “moderation and dialogue” at his weekly address from St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. “I ask you to join me in prayer for the Lord to inspire in all sides proposals for reconciliation and peace,” he said. At Sunday’s weekly government meeting, Netanyahu said Israel is constantly monitoring the security situation in Jerusalem and will “decide accordingly” what actions to take. A security cabinet meeting scheduled for Sunday night could bring a new decision about the metal detectors and other security measures taken in the Old City of Jerusalem. “We are conducting this calmly, determinedly and responsibly and thus we will continue to act in order to maintain security,” Netanyahu said. President Abbas suspended all contacts between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government on Friday in protest of the metal detectors. The suspension includes the rare move of freezing security coordination, seen as a bedrock of Israeli-Palestinian relations. An Israeli military official said they are “evaluating and assessing what the declarations mean on the ground,” calling it a “complex reality.” On Sunday, a shooting at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman left a Jordanian dead and an Israeli and a Jordanian wounded, Jordan’s Public Security Department said, according to a report by Jordan’s official Petra news agency. The motive is unclear and there’s no evidence the incident is connected to the tensions in Jerusalem. the department said. The department said police rushed to the scene of the incident and evacuated the three for treatment. A Jordanian was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital. Local media in Jordan, including one affiliated with the armed forces, are reporting heavy security presence around the embassy. A significant percentage of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian origin and a Jordanian religious authority, the Waqf, administers the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary. On Friday, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest the situation in Jerusalem. Earlier in the weekend, on Friday night, three Israelis were killed in their home in the West Bank settlement of Halamish when police say a young Palestinian man breached the settlement’s security fence and stabbed them to death. Yosef Solomon, 70, and his son, Elad, and daughter, Chaya, died in the attack. Their funerals will take place Sunday evening. Netanyahu said Israel would look to destroy the home of the attacker as soon as possible, a routine measure intended as a deterrent against future attacks. The Israeli military arrested more than 20 Palestinians in an overnight sweep on Sunday near the site of Friday night’s attack, according to an Israeli military official. The Palestinians were suspected of preparing attacks in the immediate future or of being members of the militant group Hamas, the official said. Meanwhile, four Palestinians have been killed in ongoing demonstrations against Israeli security forces Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the latest Palestinian killed as Yousef Kashour, 24, from the village of el-Eizaryia. CNN’s Sarah Sirgany, Abeer Salman, Michael Schwartz, Mohammed Najib, Kareem Khadder, Roba Alhenawi, Jomana Karadsheh and Angela Dewan contributed to this report.

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July 23, 2017   Posted in: Jerusalem  Comments Closed

Pope calls for dialogue & moderation after Jerusalem violence – Eyewitness News

Pope calls for dialogue & moderation after Jerusalem violence Pope Francis said he was alarmed by the recent violence in Jerusalem and called for dialogue and moderation to help restore peace. FILE: Palestinian worshippers run for cover from teargas fired by Israeli forces outside Jerusalem’s Old City in front of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on 21 July 2017. Picture: AFP. VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said on Sunday he was alarmed by the recent violence in Jerusalem and called for dialogue and moderation to help restore peace. I am following with trepidation the grave tension and violence of recent days in Jerusalem. I feel the need to express a heartfelt call for moderation and dialogue, the pope told pilgrims gathered under blazing sunshine in St Peters Square. He called for prayers in the hope that all sides would come forward with proposals for reconciliation and peace. Three Israelis were stabbed to death in a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday, hours after three Palestinians were killed in violence prompted by Israels installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound in Jerusalems walled Old City. However, we will NOT condone the following: – Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality) – Sexism – Homophobia – Religious intolerance – Cyber bullying – Hate speech – Derogatory language – Comments inciting violence. We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section. We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all. EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules. Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines. EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

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