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Israel removing detectors from shrine in bid to end standoffs

26 Juillet 2017

Israel has said it will not remove the metal detectors at entrances to al Aqsa mosque compound but could eventually reduce their use, Israeli officials said on Sunday.

In an apparent effort to quell tensions and worldwide outcry, the Israeli security cabinet said Tuesday it would accept the recommendation of Israel's security bodies and replace the intrusive metal detectors with "smart checks" and "other measures".

However, the director of al-Aqsa Najeh Bakirat said that keeping the cameras does not satisfy Palestinians' demands.

Details of the advanced technologies envisaged were not immediately clear.

Greenblatt met Netanyahu along with U.S. envoy to Israel David Friedman Monday, an Israeli official told AFP.

Jordan has seen an outpouring of public anger against Israel in recent days, with Jordanian officials calling on it to remove the metal detectors at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The Palestinians say that their fury - manifested in mass protests and the killing of three Israelis at a Jewish settlement on Friday - is driven by fear that their sacred mosque is under threat. They have refused to enter through the gates, praying in the streets instead as a form of protest.

The installation of the new security measures sparked angry protests from Palestinians who feared Israel would encroach further into the long-standing agreements governing control of Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam. However, the Israeli guard was released after calls between Netanyahu and the King Abdullah II of Jordan.

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On Sunday, a rocket was launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip but hit an open area, causing no damage, Israel's military said.

Earlier Monday, the United Nations envoy to the region had urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to find a solution to the building tensions over the holy site in Jerusalem's Old City.

The shooting came at a time when Israel and Jordan were conducting intense contacts over an escalating crisis at a contested Jerusalem shrine that is revered by Muslims and Jews.

A second Jordanian was also killed, apparently by accident.

I noted that the situation is not being helped by world governments that refuse to hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable.

It said one of the workers, identified by Israeli media as a 17-year-old, attacked an Israeli security guard with a screwdriver.

"They (metal detectors) will remain".

"It is critically important that the status quo is preserved in Jerusalem", Mladenov said after briefing the UNSC. "We are engaged in discussions with the relevant parties and are committed to finding a resolution to the ongoing security issues". The site lies in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in a 1967 war and annexed to form part of its "eternal, indivisible" capital - a move not recognised internationally.

Israel removing detectors from shrine in bid to end standoffs