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Body Search Brings Back Tension to Aqsa Mosque | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Media ID: 55379934

Palestinian men pray as Israeli security forces secure outside the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun –

Ramallah – Israeli security measures in the vicinity of Al Aqsa Mosque did not prevent Palestinians from celebrating the full reopening of the mosque, a move that has sparked a sense of victory among Palestinians and feelings of frustration among Israelis.

Thousands of Muslims prayed inside the mosque on Saturday, after Israel canceled all the procedures and opened all the gates that have been closed since July 14.

The Israeli police, in retaliatory measures, insisted on searching worshipers upon their entry and checked their identity cards. It has also allowed dozens of extremist settlers to enter the mosque, a step that has exacerbated tensions.

In this regard, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said that the Palestinian leadership would continue to act to prevent any attempt to undermine the situation in Jerusalem and would maintain its efforts to compel Israel to stop attacking worshipers and provoking angry Muslim feelings.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced heavy criticism, as recent opinion polls indicated that an overwhelming majority of the public was angry about the way he managed the crisis and believed that the “submissiveness” to the Palestinians was “a serious mistake”.

The attack on Netanyahu was further aggravated by the fact that he ignored the views and warnings of Israel’s Shin Bet chiefs, the Israeli army, and even his colleagues in the cabinet, of the use of electronic gates when tens of thousands of worshipers came to pray.

These gates have indeed stirred violent confrontations with the Palestinians, forced the Palestinian authorities to freeze all contacts with Israel, and caused a diplomatic crisis with the Kingdom of Jordan.

Meanwhile in Ramallah, Israeli military carried out dawn raids at the headquarters of PalMedia studios, seizing equipment from offices, local media reported.

An Israeli spokesman said in justification of the move that the operation was carried out on the grounds of incitement carried out by the company.

For his part, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat strongly condemned the raids on PalMedia in the heart of the city of Ramallah, describing the move as a retaliatory behavior aimed at “silencing the Palestinian voice”.

He noted that such acts “expose the abuses and attacks perpetrated by the Occupation forces, in violation of the international law, and reflect the truth about the Palestinian crisis the world”.