Is­raelis re­view pol­icy at Jerusalem holy site

At­tack in Jor­dan kills two peo­ple

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JERUSALEM — Is­rael’s se­cu­rity Cab­i­net met Sun­day to re­view a de­ci­sion to in­stall metal de­tec­tors at a con­tested Jerusalem holy site, af­ter a week of es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions with the Mus­lim world, mass prayer protests and Is­raeli-Pales­tinian vi­o­lence.

The min­is­ters met amid mount­ing con­tro­versy at home, with some crit­ics say­ing the gov­ern­ment had acted with­out suf­fi­ciently con­sid­er­ing the reper­cus­sions of in­tro­duc­ing new se­cu­rity

mea­sures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Holy Land’s most sen­si­tive shrine and the epi­cen­ter of the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict.

Three peo­ple, in­clud­ing an Is­raeli, were wounded by gun­fire Sun­day in a res­i­den­tial build­ing in the heav­ily for­ti­fied Is­raeli Em­bassy com­pound in Jor­dan’s cap­i­tal.

The king­dom’s Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Direc­torate said that be­fore the shoot­ing, Jor­da­ni­ans had en­tered the apart­ment build­ing for car­pen­try work, the state­ment said.

Two Jor­da­ni­ans later died, ac­cord­ing to the agency and the news site Hala Akhbar, linked to the Jor­da­nian mil­i­tary.

One of the Jor­da­ni­ans killed was a physi­cian at the scene, the se­cu­rity agency said.

The site said the Is­raeli man was in “un­sta­ble” con­di­tion.

A Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity of­fi­cial con­firmed that two Jor­da­ni­ans had been killed and an Is­raeli wounded. He spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the in­ci­dent with the me­dia.

The Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

The metal de­tec­tors were in­stalled a week ago in re­sponse to an at­tack by Arab gun­men who killed two Is­raeli po­lice­men. Mus­lim re­li­gious lead­ers al­leged Is­rael was try­ing to ex­pand its con­trol at the com­pound un­der the guise of se­cu­rity, a claim Is­rael de­nied.

Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Gi­lad Er­dan, a sup­porter of the se­cu­rity mea­sures, on Sun­day for the first time raised the pos­si­bil­ity that the metal de­tec­tors might be re­moved, pro­vided an al­ter­na­tive is found.

He said se­cu­rity mea­sures at the 37-acre es­planade, with eight en­try gates for Mus­lim wor­ship­pers, were in­suf­fi­cient be­fore the shoot­ing at­tack.

“We need dif­fer­ent se­cu­rity mea­sures and means for check­ing [those en­ter­ing] there,” he told Is­rael TV’s Chan­nel 2.

Er­dan said it is “cer­tainly pos­si­ble that the metal de­tec­tors will be re­moved” if po­lice rec­om­mend a dif­fer­ent se­cu­rity pro­gram, but added that he is cur­rently “not aware of such a pro­gram.”

Mus­lim lead­ers sig­naled ear­lier Sun­day that they would re­ject any new pro­posal that leaves ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sures in place.

The top Mus­lim cleric of Jerusalem, Mo­hammed Hus­sein, told Voice of Pales­tine ra­dio that he de­mands a com­plete re­turn to the se­cu­rity mea­sures be­fore the shoot­ing at­tack.

In a state­ment Sun­day, the Is­lamic in­sti­tu­tions in Jerusalem, of which he is a part, said they “af­firm the cat­e­gor­i­cal re­jec­tion of the elec­tronic gates and all the mea­sures of oc­cu­pa­tion.”

Tur­key’s pres­i­dent con­demned Is­raeli se­cu­rity pre­cau­tions, say­ing the Is­lamic world would not re­main silent.

Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, ad­dress­ing re­porters Sun­day in Is­tan­bul be­fore de­part­ing on a visit to Saudi Ara­bia, Kuwait and Qatar, said, “No one can ex­pect the Is­lamic world to re­main un­re­spon­sive af­ter the hu­mil­i­a­tion Mus­lims suf­fered with the re­stric­tions at the Noble Sanc­tu­ary.”

Pope Fran­cis told faith­ful Sun­day in St. Peter’s Square that he was fol­low­ing “with trep­i­da­tion the grave ten­sions and vi­o­lence” un­leashed at the shrine.

“I feel the need to ex­press a dis­tressed ap­peal for mod­er­a­tion and di­a­logue,” the pope said. He in­vited oth­ers to pray with him so peo­ple would aim for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and peace.

Dis­putes over the shrine, revered by Mus­lims and Jews, have set off ma­jor rounds of Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­fronta­tions in the past.

On Fri­day, sev­eral thou­sand Pales­tini­ans clashed with Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem af­ter noon prayers — the cen­ter­piece of the Mus­lim re­li­gious week.

Three Pales­tini­ans were killed and sev­eral dozen wounded af­ter protesters burned tires and threw stones and fire­crack­ers. Is­raeli troops re­sponded with live rounds, rub­ber bul­lets and tear gas.

Late Fri­day night, a 20-year-old Pales­tinian stabbed and killed three mem­bers of an Is­raeli fam­ily in their home in a West Bank set­tle­ment.

The leader of the Is­lamic mil­i­tant group that rules Gaza praised the at­tacker in a phone call to the at­tacker’s fa­ther.

Ismail Haniyeh called the at­tack “heroic” Sun­day and said the as­sailant “lifted the heads of the na­tion high.”

The 20-year-old Pales­tinian jumped over the fence of a West Bank set­tle­ment and en­tered a house sur­pris­ing a fam­ily that was cel­e­brat­ing a new grand­child dur­ing their tra­di­tional Sab­bath meal. He stabbed to death Yosef Salomon, 70, and his chil­dren, 46-year-old Chaya and 35-year-old Elad, while his daugh­ter-in-law es­caped to an­other room to shel­ter her young chil­dren.

Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu de­nounced the at­tack as “an act of ter­ror, car­ried out by an an­i­mal who was in­cited with un­fath­omable ha­tred.” Ne­tanyahu said at a cer­e­mony Sun­day soon af­ter the vic­tims were brought to rest that “ter­ror will never de­feat us.”

At his weekly Cab­i­net meet­ing Sun­day, Ne­tanyahu said the killer’s home would be de­mol­ished swiftly in ret­ri­bu­tion and those who in­cited and glo­ri­fied his act would be dealt with.

Mean­while, Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas con­firmed that an ear­lier de­ci­sion to freeze ties with Is­rael on “all lev­els” also in­cluded a halt to se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion. Ab­bas has said the freeze would re­main in ef­fect un­til the metal de­tec­tors have been re­moved.

Se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion, largely aimed at a com­mon foe, the Is­lamic mil­i­tant group Ha­mas, had been a con­stant in fre­quently hos­tile Is­raeli-Pales­tinian re­la­tions. End­ing those ties could quickly es­ca­late ten­sions.

The of­fi­cial Pales­tinian news agency Wafa quoted Ab­bas as say­ing that “when we made these de­ci­sions, we took a firm and de­ci­sive stance, es­pe­cially with re­gard to se­cu­rity co­or­di­na­tion.”

Ab­bas has co­or­di­nated closely with Jor­dan, the Mus­lim cus­to­dian of the shrine. Jor­dan has a peace treaty with Is­rael and the two coun­tries co­op­er­ate in the bat­tle against Is­lamic mil­i­tants in the re­gion, but fre­quently clash over Is­raeli poli­cies at the Jerusalem shrine.

Jor­dan’s of­fi­cial ties with Is­rael re­main deeply unpopular in the king­dom, which has a large Pales­tinian pop­u­la­tion. On Fri­day, thou­sands marched in the cap­i­tal Am­man in an anti-Is­rael protest.

AP/MAH­MOUD ILLEAN

Pales­tini­ans burn mock metal de­tec­tors dur­ing a de­mon­stra­tion Sun­day in Beth­le­hem.

AP/ARIEL SCHALIT

The Dome of the Rock shrine in the Al-Aqsa Mosque com­pound is seen Sun­day in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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