Ne­tanyahu faces pres­sure over holy site af­ter vi­o­lence kills eight

Is­rael ‘play­ing with fire’: Arab League UNSC to hold closed-door talks to­day

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Jerusalem - Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu faced mount­ing pres­sure on Sun­day over new se­cu­rity mea­sures at a sen­si­tive Jerusalem holy site af­ter a week­end of vi­o­lence left eight peo­ple dead, with fears more un­rest could fol­low.

Is­raeli of­fi­cials sig­nalled they may be open to chang­ing the mea­sures at the Haram al Sharif mosque com­pound, known to Jews as the Tem­ple Mount, af­ter the in­stal­la­tion of metal de­tec­tors at en­trances fol­low­ing an at­tack that killed two po­lice­men stoked Pales­tinian anger.

The metal de­tec­tors re­mained in place on Sun­day morn­ing, though cam­eras had also been mounted near at least one en­trance to the com­pound in Jerusalem’s Old City - a pos­si­ble in­di­ca­tion of an al­ter­na­tive to the de­tec­tors.

Ne­tanyahu also held a Cab­i­net meet­ing on Sun­day.

“Since the start of the events, I have held a series of as­sess­ments with se­cu­rity el­e­ments in­clud­ing those in the field,” he said at the start of the meet­ing.

“We are re­ceiv­ing from them an up-to-date pic­ture of the sit­u­a­tion, as well as rec­om­men­da­tions for ac­tion, and we will de­cide ac­cord­ingly.”

Is­raeli Ma­jor Gen­eral Yoav Mordechai - head of COGAT, the De­fence Min­istry agency re­spon­si­ble for civil­ian af­fairs in the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries - sig­nalled changes to the pol­icy were pos­si­ble.

“We are ex­am­in­ing other op­tions and al­ter­na­tives that will en­sure se­cu­rity,” Mordechai said in an in­ter­view with Al Jazeera.

Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Gi­lad Er­dan said he would con­tinue to sup­port the metal de­tec­tors re­main­ing in place un­less po­lice pro­vide a sat­is­fac­tory al­ter­na­tive.

The cri­sis has res­onated in­ter-

na­tion­ally. The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil will hold closed-door talks on Monday about the spi­ralling vi­o­lence af­ter Egypt, France and Swe­den sought a meet­ing to ‘ur­gently dis­cuss how calls for de-es­ca­la­tion in Jerusalem can be sup­ported’.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit on Sun­day ac­cused Is­rael of ‘play­ing with fire’ with the new se­cu­rity mea­sures.

Week of ten­sions

Ten­sions have risen through­out the past week over the metal de­tec­tors at the com­pound, which in­cludes the revered Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, fol­low­ing the July 14 at­tack that killed two po­lice­men.

Pales­tini­ans re­ject the metal de­tec­tors be­cause they view the

move as Is­rael as­sert­ing fur­ther con­trol over the site. They have re­fused to en­ter the com­pound in protest and have prayed in the streets out­side.

Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties say the July 14 at­tack­ers smug­gled guns into the holy site and emerged from it to shoot the po­lice­men.

Fri­day’s main Mus­lim prayers - which typ­i­cally draw thou­sands to Al Aqsa - brought the sit­u­a­tion to a boil.

In an­tic­i­pa­tion of protests, Is­rael barred men un­der 50 from en­ter­ing the Old City for prayers.

Clashes broke out be­tween Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces and Pales­tini­ans around the Old City, in other parts of an­nexed East Jerusalem and in the oc­cu­pied West Bank, leav­ing three Pales­tini­ans dead.

On Fri­day even­ing, a Palestin-

ian broke into a home in a Jewish set­tle­ment in the West Bank dur­ing a Sab­bath din­ner and stabbed four Is­raelis, killing three of them.

The Is­raeli army said the 19 year old Pales­tinian had spo­ken in a Face­book post of the Jerusalem holy site and of dy­ing as a mar­tyr.

There were fur­ther clashes on Satur­day, when Pales­tinian youths hurled stones and petrol bombs as the army used a bull­dozer to close off the at­tacker’s West Bank vil­lage and pre­pare his house for de­mo­li­tion.

Ne­tanyahu said on Sun­day the de­mo­li­tion would go ahead ‘as soon as pos­si­ble’.

Clashes also flared in east Jerusalem and other Pales­tinian vil­lages in the West Bank near Jerusalem on Satur­day, po­lice

said. Two Pales­tini­ans died dur­ing the clashes, in­clud­ing one when a petrol bomb ex­ploded pre­ma­turely.

Ha­mas ar­rests

Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces said on Sun­day they had ar­rested 25 men ac­tive in the Ha­mas group that rules the Gaza Strip.

The ar­rests through­out the West Bank in­cluded ‘se­nior mem­bers’, a state­ment from the Shin Bet in­ter­nal se­cu­rity agency said, and was part of pre­ven­tive mea­sures in the wake of ‘the ten­sions around the Tem­ple Mount’.

Also on Sun­day, a rocket fired at Is­rael from Gaza hit an open area, the Is­raeli army said, caus­ing no in­juries. No Pales­tinian group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity.

(AFP)

Is­raeli bor­der guards at­tempt to dis­perse Pales­tinian wor­ship­pers out­side Li­ons’ Gate, the main en­trance to the Al Aqsa Mosque com­pound, as they gather in protest against new Is­raeli se­cu­rity mea­sures im­ple­mented at the holy site, in Jerusalem’s Old City on Satur­day night

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