Israel upped security and installed new security cameras Sunday at the entrance to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, as officials began indicating it was considering "alternatives" to the metal detectors at the contested shrine that set off a weekend of violence and raised tensions in the region.
Israel set up the new security measures last week after Arab gunmen opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. It said they were a necessary measure to prevent more attacks and were deployed routinely at holy sites around the world.
Three Palestinians were killed in street clashes Friday in some of the worst street violence in years, and later a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family.
Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads the Israeli defense body for Palestinian civilian affairs, said Israel was open to alternatives to lower the tensions. "The only thing we want is to ensure no one can enter with weapons again and carry out another attack," he said. "We're willing to examine alternatives to the metal detectors as long as the solution of alternative ensures the prevention of the next attack."
However, the top Muslim cleric of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, told the Voice of Palestine he demands a complete return to procedures that were in place before the initial attack at the shrine, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. In a statement Sunday, the Islamic institutions in Jerusalem, of which he is a part, said they "affirm the categorical rejection of the electronic gates and all the measures of occupation." (riverbender.com)
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Israel has signalled a willingness to remove metal detectors at a contested Jerusalem shrine that have sparked clashes between Israel and the Palestinians.
The United Nations Security Council will meet on Monday to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian violence. “We are willing to consider alternatives to metal detectors as long as the solution or alternative guarantees that the next attack doesn’t happen,” the Ynet website quoted the top military official in the West Bank as saying in relation to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound. Israel Radio said an inner cabinet of Israeli ministers with security responsibilities would meet on Sunday to discuss the security arrangements at the hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Ha’aretz newspaper reported that the White House was in talks with Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan, the custodian of the shrine, in an effort to stem the violence. A week of violence escalated sharply on Friday, when three Palestinian protesters were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces and three Israelis were stabbed to death by a Palestinian attacker who invaded a West Bank settlement home. (irishtimes.com)
It is a war of religions
Turkey's president has condemned Israeli security precautions at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site saying the Islamic world would not remain silent. Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed reporters Sunday in Istanbul before departing on a visit to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. He says: "No one can expect the Islamic world to remain unresponsive after the humiliation Muslims suffered with the restrictions at the Noble Sanctuary." (gazette.com)
Pope Francis told the faithful on Sunday in St. Peter's Square that he was following "with trepidation the grave tensions and violence" unleashed at a contested shrine. Last week Arab gunmen, shooting from the shrine, killed two Israeli policemen, three Palestinians were killed in street clashes and a Palestinian fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family. Francis said: "I feel the need to express a distressed appeal for moderation and dialogue." He invited others to pray with him so people would aim for reconciliation and peace. Israeli authorities have imposed new security and tensions have been raised after the violence at what's known as Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims. (firstpost.com)
The Arab League has warned Israel is “playing with fire” over the “red line” of Jerusalem and its foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday over Israeli-Palestinian violence, according to statements on Sunday. (middleeastmonitor.com)
Palestine a symbol of victory
The Muslims around the world look at Jerusalem as a symbol of victory they had over Jewish almost 10 centuries ago. The times have changed and the Jews have been able to resurrect themselves. They are back in the holy land where they once were. They had been defeated by the Muslim warriors in the 11th century, but this is not 11th century and times have changed. So until the concept of Jerusalem is a symbol of victory is not wiped out, the fight for Jerusalem will continue. There are no easy answers and when it comes to faith there is no explaining to the devout.