Is Israel a step closer to al-Aqsa takeover?

21 July, 2017, 00:56 | Author: Jeannette Greene
  • Terrorist entering Temple Mount

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has received numerous calls from his own security experts and foreign allies to remove security barriers at al-Aqsa Mosque ahead of mass protests on Friday.

According to The Jerusalem Post newspaper, the police closed the Mughrabi gate, which is the only way for Jews and tourists to enter the Temple Mount, due a group of tourists, which broke off the rules of visiting this holy site. "If the metal detectors continue to be imposed, we call upon the people to pray in front of the gates of the mosque and in the streets of Jerusalem", the trust stated on Monday.

Israel insists it has no intention of changing the status quo, and says metal detectors are widely used to secure holy sites around the world. "We are anxious about any change to the historical situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram ash-Sharif) and its courtyard, and in the holy city of Jerusalem".

Earlier in the day, Israeli forces attacked Palestinians staging a sit-in outside the compound's main entrance for the third consecutive day after Tel Aviv implemented the new measures that ban worshipers from performing their prayers freely in the mosque.

Israel's public security minister said Thursday that metal detectors are essential to maintain security, despite a Muslim call for mass protests in the city if they are not removed.

"We will never ever accept any changes in the mosque, and Israel has to put an end to this crisis by removing the metal detectors", he said. The gunmen, all from the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in central Israel, were subsequently shot and killed by the police. It reopened this week with metal detectors and security cameras installed at the gates.

Thousands of Muslims, Christians and Jews from around the world regularly travel to Jerusalem to pray at the compound which is considered a sacred site by all three of the world's major religions.

Netanyahu said Israel is in close contact with Jordan, the traditional Muslim custodian of the site, to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Israel subsequently annexed East Jerusalem, claiming it part of its "eternal and indivisible" capital, in a move never recognized internationally. Now only individuals can enter through metal detectors which has sparked outrage in the Muslim community. The three Israeli Arabs from the northern town of Umm al-Fahm who carried out the attack all held identity cards, allowing them the same freedom of movement as anyone else.


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