Amman, Riyadh and US said pushing to remove Temple Mt. metal detectors by Friday

T. Belman. Israel should stick to their guns and detectors. We must show them we are the sovereign. This compromise is ridiculous. Its sole purpose is to undermine our authority.

Five IDF battalions put on alert ahead of weekly prayers, as Israel braces for clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank

By Judah Ari Gross, TOI

Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the US are reportedly upping the pressure on Israel to remove metal detectors newly installed at the entrances to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount complex by Friday.

An unnamed Palestinian official told London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that Amman and Riyadh, via Washington, have been urging Israel to roll back the new security measures — put in place in the wake of a deadly shooting attack last week — before masses of Muslim worshipers head to the holy site for their weekly prayers.

The official said the Palestinian leadership supported an American-brokered compromise that would see Israel remove the walk-through metal detectors it has set up and have police use hand-held metal detector wands instead, though only on those deemed to be suspicious.

“The search of suspects or bags is not objectionable,” the official said, but “the personal inspection of every person will be rejected.”

Israeli security services have meanwhile been gearing up for clashes that are expected in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday. On Thursday, police arrested six East Jerusalem residents for involvement in recent skirmishes with authorities during protests over the additional security.

On Thursday, the army announced that it was putting five additional battalions on alert in the West Bank “ahead of Friday,” though the military added that those battalions may be released should the situation change.

The White House said Thursday it was “very concerned” over the tensions. It called on Israel and Jordan — which serves as custodian of the holy site — “to make a good faith effort to reduce tensions and to find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo.”

Under the status quo governing the Temple Mount, Israel controls access to the site and the Waqf Islamic trust set up by Jordan administers activities inside the compound. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit but are prohibited from prayer.

Israeli police clash with Palestinian protesters during a protest against metal detectors that were placed at gates to the Temple Mount, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on July 19, 2017 (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Israeli police clash with Palestinian protesters during a protest against metal detectors that were placed at gates to the Temple Mount, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on July 19, 2017 (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is traveling in Hungary, held three telephone consultations with his security chiefs on the matter on Wednesday, but no decisions were made, his office said.

“We want to solve this crisis in the quietest way possible and restore calm,” Netanyahu said. “We talk with the Arab world and we explain that there is absolutely no change to the status quo” on the holy site.

The metal detectors, which were erected after last Friday’s deadly shooting attack, constitute “a means to prevent firearms from being brought to the Temple Mount,” he said.

Channel 2 news said there was a professional disagreement between Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Israel Police representatives — who wanted to keep the detectors — and the Shin Bet heads who voiced support for their removal to avoid an unnecessary escalation in violence.

Jerusalem’s most senior Muslim clerics have called for the closure of all mosques throughout the city Friday and for all Muslims to converge toward the site.

Muslim worshipers perform noon prayers the Lion's Gate, outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City on July 19, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Muslim worshipers perform noon prayers at the Lions Gate, outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 19, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Such an event could lead to violent confrontations with police and spill over with protests throughout the West Bank. In recent days, there has been an increase in the number of worshipers at the Lions Gate entrance to the Temple Mount, and tens of thousands are expected to arrive on Friday.

The Temple Mount has reemerged as a flashpoint in recent days, with Muslim protesters holding, at times, violent demonstrations outside of the Old City in protest of Israel’s placement of metal detectors at the site following the terror attack last week in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two police officers guarding one of the entrances.

The metal detectors were part of increased security measures after police said the attackers had stashed their weapons on the Temple Mount and emerged armed from the holy site to open fire on the officers.

Following the attack, Israel made the rare move of closing the compound while it searched for more weaponry there, reopening it to Muslims on Sunday and to non-Muslims on Monday.

Israel has said repeatedly it has no plans to change the status quo at the Mount. It has always been responsible for security there, and Friday’s attack necessitated upgraded security, officials said. All visitors to the Western Wall plaza, below the Mount, have long had to pass through metal detectors, as have non-Muslim visitors to the Mount, who gain access via the Mughrabi Gate.

AP and Avi Issacharoff contributed to this report.

July 20, 2017 | 7 Comments » | 283 views

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. If Israel wants to solve the crisis in the quietest possible way, that is reason enough to encourage days of rage.
    Taken at face value, the metal detectors are needed and should not be removed.
    Just by the way, how did the Saudis deal with attempted terror attacks in Mecca this year?

  2. @dreuveni

    [Note to Ted: It would be good if one could edit the @ feature.]

    Worse if you are a woman, otherwise the same. See photo. It’s not the checkpoints that bother them; it’s us Jews having the nerve to act like we are above them for any reason instead of cringing before them in fear like before.

    Actually, the racism here lies, not in Israeli checkpoints or metal detectors, checkpoints which serve to save Arab lives as well, but in their hypocritical reaction to it, as you so perceptively pointed out. Their very outrage is an expression, not of their victimhood, but of their status as angry, thwarted, former victimizers like the racist whites in the Old South during Reconstruction angry that blacks could now walk on the same side of the street and they might even have to step into the curb to let a black pass. They should be called out for their outrage and what it expresses about them.

    “Airport Security – Airport after 9/11”

    “Saudi Arabia
    For Saudi Arabia, Airport Security begins before travelers reach the airport. Saudi Arabia has strict controls on who may enter the country, and foreigners must get a visa in advance. Citizens of Israel and anyone possessing a passport with an Israeli stamp aren’t allowed to visit Saudi Arabia. Women traveling to or from Saudi Arabian airports are also subject to strict rules. If they aren’t met at the airport by a husband, male relative or sponsor, they will not be permitted to leave the airport. In order to exit Saudi Arabia, a married woman must get prior permission from her husband. An unmarried woman can’t catch a flight out of Saudi Arabia without the written consent of her father or male guardian. Plus, there are very strict rules about what can be transported into the country. At the airport, customs officials will search passengers’ bags for forbidden items such as alcohol, pork products and pornography.””

    Police take security at airport seriously
    Fouzia Khan | Published — Sunday 10 July 2016
    “JEDDAH: The Saudi government and security forces are keen to provide safety and security to the people of the Kingdom, and in airport security, they haven’t spared any efforts.
    The beefed-up security at King Abdulaziz International Airport was applauded by citizens and residents of Jeddah as it shows the keenness of the government in providing safety and security to the people and visitors to Jeddah.
    Abu Faisal, who went to receive his wife at the airport, could not enter the arrivals area of the airport because of the tight security. “The security guard told me that the passengers would be coming out from gates 2 and 3 of the arrival lounge, and nobody was allowed to go in, only staff and business employees, even after IDs were properly checked. Even the checkpoint outside the perimeters of the airport did thorough checks of cars entering the airport,” he said.
    He said that special security cars were also going around in the parking lot to enforce security, which shows the eagerness of the government and security forces in providing all the measures, by the grace of Allah, to make it safe for all those coming to the airport.
    Ahmed Al-Rafeek, another resident, expressed his gratitude to the government for intensifying security for the protection of everyone in the Kingdom, and condemned what the enemies of the Kingdom are trying to do.
    “I salute the security forces who are sincerely and efficiently boosting security. I would also like to pray to Allah to bless those security forces who laid down their lives for the protection of the nation and its people, and also pray for the injured to recover at the earliest,” he said.
    He also said that expatriates and citizens are wholeheartedly with the Saudi government, the nation and security forces, and accept all the security measures they put in place for the benefit of the people.””

  3. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    Correction, the items they search bags for have nothing to do with security but are simply a violation of privacy based on their particular brand of superstitious nuttiness. It’s worse. But, it looks the same in the picture. Though there are no people in the picture.

  4. @ Ted Belman:
    When I click “Post” I have about 4 minutes to edit but the features that were available in the beginning, “quote” “reply” and “highlight and quote” are not available in edit mode.

    If one forgets to select “reply” in the first instance, even if one manual types in “@ person’s name” that person will not be notified of the reply. Moreover, other viewers will not be able to click on that and find the comment being replied to because it is only a link the first time round.

    It would be good if those features were available in edit mode, but especially, the reply feature.

  5. @ Ted Belman:
    Also, this last time round, I did not have the edit option. It’s spotty. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, it says, “you may no longer edit this comment” before the time is up.

Leave a Reply