‘Smart checks’ re­place metal de­tec­tors at Al-Aqsa

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

BETHLEHEM: The Is­raeli se­cu­rity cabi­net de­cided at a meet­ing late on Mon­day night to re­move metal de­tec­tors, re­cently in­stalled at the en­trances of the Al-Aqsa Mosque com­pound, only to re­place them with more ad­vanced sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy in the Old City of oc­cu­pied East Jerusalem.

Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties in­stalled metal de­tec­tors, turn­stiles, and ad­di­tional se­cu­rity cam­eras in the com­pound fol­low­ing a deadly shoot­ing at­tack at Al-Aqsa on July 14 – spark­ing protests from Pales­tini­ans, who said the move was the lat­est ex­am­ple of Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties us­ing Is­raeli-Pales­tinian vi­o­lence as a means of fur­ther­ing con­trol over im­por­tant sites in the oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory and nor­mal­is­ing re­pres­sive mea­sures against Pales­tini­ans.

The se­cu­rity cabi­net said it had “ac­cepted the rec­om­men­da­tion of all of the se­cu­rity bod­ies to in­cor­po­rate se­cu­rity mea­sures based on ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies (‘smart checks’) and other mea­sures in­stead of metal de­tec­tors to en­sure the se­cu­rity of vis­i­tors and wor­ship­pers in the Old City and on the Tem­ple Mount” – us­ing the Is­raeli term for the Al-Aqsa com­pound.

Re­li­gious lead­ers in Jerusalem met yes­ter­day to dis­cuss the new Is­raeli plan as Is­lamic en­dow­ment (Waqf) of­fi­cial Sheikh Raed Daana said re­li­gious lead­ers and the Pales­tini­ans wouldn’t ac­cept any changes to the sta­tus quo.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Waqf Coun­cil chair­man Sheikh Abd al-Athim Sal­hab said the Waqf would is­sue a re­port eval­u­at­ing the over­all sit­u­a­tion in and around the Al-Aqsa com­pound be­fore de­cid­ing whether to re­sume prayers in­side Al-Aqsa or to con­tinue demon­stra­tions. The plan will take up to six months to im­ple­ment, and cost an es­ti­mated 100 mil­lion shekels (R364m).

The cabi­net said Is­raeli po­lice forces’ in­creased pres­ence in the Old City would be main­tained and ad­di­tional of­fi­cers could be hired.

Is­raeli news out­let Ynet said the new se­cu­rity mea­sures in­clude the in­stal­la­tion of “smart cam­eras” ca­pa­ble of fa­cial recog­ni­tion and heat-sens­ing tech­nol­ogy to de­tect pos­si­ble weapons or ex­plo­sives.

Dur­ing the weekly Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity meet­ing yes­ter­day, Prime Min­is­ter Rami Ham­dal­lah ac­cused Is­rael of at­tempt­ing to erase Jerusalem’s Pales­tinian iden­tity. Ma’an

PIC­TURE: AP

Is­raeli po­lice of­fi­cers dis­man­tle metal de­tec­tors out­side the Al-Aqsa Mosque com­pound in Jerusalem’s Old City yes­ter­day.

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