Trump's Mideast Envoy Says U.S. Welcomes Efforts to Reduce Tensions in Jerusalem

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Palestinians gather inside Jerusalem's Old city outside the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, after Israel removed all security measures it had installed at the compound July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Palestinians gather outside the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount after Israel removed all security measures it had installed. Credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

U.S. special peace envoy Jason Greenblatt is in Jerusalem in recent days holding talks with Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians as part of an attempt to renew the calm on the Temple Mount said he "welcomes the efforts undertaken to de-escalate tensions in Jerusalem today."

Greenblatt comments referred to Israel's decision to return the status on the Temple Mount the state it was before the July 14 terror attack.

In a statement released Thursday night, Greenblatt added "that calm and security will create the best opportunity to return to dialogue and the pursuit of peace."

According to the statement, Trump, Jared Kushner and the entire admiration involved in the issue "have been and will remain engaged as we continue to monitor the situation closely.

Jerusalem's mufti Mohammed Hussein announced Thursday that the situation at the Temple Mount compound has been restored to what it was prior to July 14's attack, and that prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque are to resume.

His announcement follows the overnight removal of all remaining security measures from the entrances to the Temple Mount, including infrastructure for "smart" camera technology that was to replace the metal detectors that were removed on Tuesday, in  in accordance with the demands of the site's religious authority, the Waqf.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met the mufti in Ramallah on Thursday morning and welcomed the decision, calling it a victory for Palestinians, particularly those in Jerusalem. "All stood as one, didn't blink, didn't hesitate and didn't tire," he said.

A source briefed on the de-escalation efforts, who requested to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, told Haaretz on Wednesday that senior officials in Trump's administration demanded Abbas stop incitement regarding the Temple Mount and end calls for protests.

According to the source, the U.S. administration made it clear to the Palestinian leadership that Israel had taken a lull in the process of removing the metal detectors and cameras placed at the entrance to the Temple Mount.