Jerusalem (July 28, 2017): Israel on Thursday removed metal detectors and other disputed security installation from al-Aqsa mosque.
Palestinians continue to protest as mosque official says move does not fulfill Muslims’ demands to remove CCTV cameras.
Israel has decided to remove metal detectors it had placed at the entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem and replace them with more advanced surveillance cameras.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to remove the metal detector gates after a meeting lasting several hours convening for a second time on Monday.
Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, director of al-Aqsa Mosque, said on Tuesday that the move does not fulfill the demands of the Muslim worshippers as the security cameras remain.
Sheikh Raed Saleh, an al-Aqsa official, said that the Palestinians would “never accept the current status, unless everything that was added after July 14 was removed”.
“The picture until this moment is not clear, they are doing it in the middle of night, in the cover of darkness, like bats. God knows what we are going to wake up the next morning,” Saleh said.
On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority said the Israeli government bears full responsibility for attacking al-Aqsa and changing the religious landmarks of Jerusalem.
“We affirm the historical and religious right to the al-Aqsa Mosque and warn that the Israeli occupation attempts to evade the benefits of peace,” Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said.
“We condemn all Israeli measures that deprive the Palestinian people of their right to perform acts of worship and reject all obstacles that prevent worship, which is the right of all international conventions. We demand a return to the status quo before July 14.”
The cabinet statement added that it had allocated 100 million shekels (approximately $28m) for the equipment and additional police officers.
“Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades at the protesters, and more security forces were placed at the Lions’ gate of the mosque,” he said.
“There’s a huge amount of anger. Palestinians say they will never accept any security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.”