Responding to Israel's Decision, Temple Mount Authority 'Opposes Any Technological Measures'

Israel to remove metal detectors but install 'smart' security cameras. Senior Muslim cleric responds with calls for continued protests

Israeli policemen outside the Old City of Jerusalem during demonstrations by Muslim worshippers on July 14, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Waqf religious trust announced Tuesday its position on the Israeli security cabinet decision to remove metal detectors from the Temple Mount is "to reject outright any changes, including technological measures." The Waqf also said that "the gates of the mosque should be opened to Muslim worshippers in a completely free manner and to ensure freedom of worship."

Last night, the security cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors that led to a wave of protests from Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as the Arab world. The cabinet's decision emphasized that the metal detectors would be replaced by technologically advanced security cameras, but until that plan is implemented, Israeli police forces in the area will be reinforced.

The Waqf administration announced, at the end of a closed session, that a committee would enter the Al-Aqsa compound on its behalf, review the situation and submit a report to determine its decision on the implemented measures.

Ikrema Sabri, a senior Muslim cleric, said Tuesday that Muslims should stay away from the shrine, pending a review of the new Israeli measures. The review could be completed by the end of the day.

Sabri also called for the continuation of prayers and rallies in Jerusalem streets and at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa compound. "We will not enter the mosque as long as there are Israeli means - not for cameras or transitions, and not for partial solutions."

Palestinian Jerusalem District Governor Adnan al-Husayni said Tuesday morning that "placing security cameras is a more dangerous step than metal detectors." 

The Waqf said that their position was to reject outright any change, including technological measures, or measures taken by Israel after the attack on the Temple Mount, in which two Israeli policemen were killed.

In a statement, the security cabinet said it "accepts the recommendation of all security bodies to replace the metal detectors with security checks based on advanced technologies, smart inspection, and other means to ensure the safety of visitors and worshippers in the Old City of Jerusalem." In a conversation with Netanyahu, King Abdullah of Jordan demanded to remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount entrances.