Pales­tini­ans to end two-week boy­cott of Jerusalem holy site

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Pales­tini­ans were set to re­turn to pray at a sen­si­tive Jerusalem holy site on Thurs­day af­ter Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties re­moved con­tro­ver­sial new se­cu­rity mea­sures, po­ten­tially end­ing a nearly two-week cri­sis that sparked deadly un­rest.

Mus­lim au­thor­i­ties an­nounced a boy­cott of the Haram al-Sharif com­pound, known to Jews as the Tem­ple Mount, was to end on Thurs­day af­ter­noon af­ter Is­rael re­moved re­main­ing new se­cu­rity mea­sures.

The com­pound in­cludes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock. Pales­tini­ans had boy­cotted it since the se­cu­rity mea­sures were in­stalled fol­low­ing a July 14 at­tack nearby that killed two po­lice­men.

Pales­tinian pres­i­dent Mah­mud Ab­bas joined calls for wor­ship­pers to re­turn to the site.

“The prayers will hap­pen, God will­ing, inside the Al-Aqsa mosque,” Ab­bas told a press con­fer­ence.

Ab­bas an­nounced a freeze on con­tacts with Is­rael last week over the dis­pute, in­clud- ing se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion, and said on Thurs­day a meet­ing would be held on whether to lift it.

Mid­day prayers were again held out­side the com­pound, with of­fi­cials say­ing prepa­ra­tions had to be made for wor­ship­pers to re­turn to it for af­ter­noon prayers at around 4:30 pm.

Be­fore the mid­day prayer, there were cel­e­bra­tions with hun­dreds of peo­ple clap­ping and singing.

It be­came quiet later as the prayer time ap­proached, with wor­ship­pers spread­ing out prayer mats on the ground.

A tense stand­off had been un­der­way be­tween Is­rael and Mus­lim wor­ship­pers at the holy site for nearly two weeks de­spite the re­moval of metal de­tec­tors on Tues­day.

Mus­lims had re­fused to en­ter the com­pound and prayed in the streets out­side af­ter Is­rael in­stalled the new se­cu­rity mea­sures. Pales­tini­ans viewed the move as Is­rael as­sert­ing fur­ther con­trol.

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