Toronto - Despite international calls to bring an end to tensions in Jerusalem, Israel has announced that the main source of that tension, metal detectors installed at the Al Aqsa mosque compound, will remain in place, at least for the foreseeable future.
Toronto – Despite international calls to bring an end to tensions in Jerusalem, Israel has announced that the main source of that tension, metal detectors installed at the Al Aqsa mosque compound, will remain in place, at least for the foreseeable future.
Convening a meeting of their security council Sunday night, under the leadership of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel indicated the added security measures taken will remain for now, although they may be lessened at some unnamed point in the future.
In an interview with Army Radio, Israel’s minister for regional development, Tzachi Hanegbi, announced that the metal detectors will stay in place at the site. “The murderers will never tell us how to search the murderers,” he said.
Asked about Palestinians reacting to the increased security at the third holiest site for Islam by choosing to pray outside of the mosque, Hanegbi said “If they (Palestinians) do not want to enter the mosque, then let them not enter the mosque.”
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Israeli Major General, Yoav Mordechai indicated that new surveillance cameras added at the Lion’s Gate entrance to the mosque on Sunday, represented a possible alternative to the hated metal detectors. “We are examining other options and alternatives that will ensure security.”
The United Nation’s Security Council held an impromptu meeting Monday to discuss the weekend’s violence and possible strategies for alleviating the growing tensions between Palestinians and Israelis over the Al Aqsa site.” The meeting was hastily arranged after France, Egypt and Sweden called for the UN to “urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported.”
Metal detectors were installed at the entrances to Al Aqsa following the deaths of two Israeli police officers in East Jerusalem June 14. Three alleged Palestinian perpetrators were tracked to the site where they were shot and killed by Israeli security.
Bloody demonstrations took place Friday and Saturday as thousands of Palestinians massed to oppose the installation of metal detectors at Al Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam. In the days leading up to Friday, Palestinian leaders had called for a “day of rage” to protest what they feared was an Israeli violation of the status quo regarding governorship of the site.
Fearing the prospect of mass demonstrations, Israel decided to bar any male under the age of 50 entry to the site and refused entry to buses carrying Muslim worshippers wanting to attend Friday prayers. Thousands of additional Israeli security personnel were deployed and three young Palestinians were killed in the crackdown that followed.
At the close of the bloodiest weekend in Jerusalem in years, four Palestinians and three Israelis had been killed. Israel added cameras to their growing list of security measures, thereby implanting further tension into an already charged atmosphere.
On Sunday, the Israeli army announced that a rocket aimed at Israel from Gaza, detonated in the air before reaching its supposed target. No injuries were reported and no one has claimed responsibility for the incident.