World News

Israel removing metal detectors from al-Aqsa compound

Israel removing metal detectors from al-Aqsa compound

Jordan serves as Muslim custodian of the 37-acre walled compound, the third holiest site of Islam.

"I urge the global community to immediately take action to remove practices that restrict freedom of worship at Haram al-Sharif", he said, refereeing to the Temple Mount compound.

"We have no issues with the houses of worship of Christians or Jews", he said. "But worshippers are still praying outside the holy site and refusing to enter".

Israel's decision to remove the metal detectors came just after Israel and Jordan resolved their standoff over Sunday's shooting at the Israeli Embassy in the kingdom.

Palestinians said the placing of the metal detectors upset the status quo, which Israel has repeatedly pledged to maintain. Their comments came after the Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to the right-wing nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), stoned the Neve Shalom synagogue last week to protest Israel's recent security measures.

Jordan's position on the continued Muslim protests and the Israeli security plan was not clear from his comments.

In Sunday's attack, an Israeli security guard was stabbed and two Jordanians inside the embassy compound were killed, according to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "The attack on Neve Shalom synagogue, which is a place of worship for our Jewish citizens who have been this country's fellow nationals for many centuries, can not be an answer to Israel's terror policies", HDP deputy parliamentary group chair Ahmet Yıldırım said on July 24.

As we reported, a spokesman for Netanyahu denied any relationship between the diplomatic standoff and the metal detectors.

"We expect Israel to take steps for the peace of the region", he added.

The fate of the shrine is an emotional issue at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

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

Clashes have broken out during protests over the measures, leaving five Palestinians dead. Israel responded by closing the site to search for weapons for two days and then installing metal detectors and more recently cameras.

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Israel has defended the metal detectors as a necessary security measure to prevent further attacks.

As part of intensifying diplomatic efforts, President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.

His visit marked the first US involvement since the start of the crisis over the shrine.

The 57-member organisation also condemned all measures that Israel has implemented starting July 14, that would change the historic status quo in the area, impede the entry of worshippers into Al-Aqsa and prevent them from practicing their religious rituals guaranteed by worldwide conventions that emphasise the right to access places of worship freely.

The statement said the changes would be implemented over a period of "up to six months".

The compound lies in east Jerusalem, seized by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the worldwide community. Since then, Muslims have administered the shrine, with Jews allowed to visit, but not to pray there.

Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, has an historical role as custodian of the Jerusalem holy site. Jews revere it as the location of two Biblical Temples and holiest site in Judaism.

The UN Security Council will also hold closed-door talks today about the spiralling violence after Egypt, France and Sweden sought a meeting to "urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported". At around the same time, it was announced that the embassy staff had returned to Israel.

In the past, Israel was willing to pay a high price to protect the relationship, including releasing an Islamic militant leader from prison in a deal with Jordan.

The session began with Interior Minister Ghaleb al-Zobi presenting the initial findings of the investigation.

The attack was preceded by a verbal dispute, the minister said. It said one of the Jordanians was the son of the owner the furniture store, later identified as 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu praised the guard for acting "calmly" during the incident.


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