Ramallah – Israeli police announced on Thursday the removal of all security measures installed at Al-Aqsa Mosque that have sparked violent confrontations in Jerusalem and other cities since July 14.
AFP quoted Israeli Police Spokeswoman Luba Samri as saying the police returned the security measures to how they were before the attack at the Haram al-Sharif, before July 14.
On that date, the Israeli forces closed Al-Aqsa Mosque for two days, in response to an attack against police officers near the compound in Jerusalem.
The mosque was later opened but saw heavy security measures, including the installation of electronic gates and smart cameras at its entrances, stirring a wave of deadly clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians, who refused the new measures and held demonstrations across Jerusalem and other cities.
Prior to the announcement of the Israeli decision to remove all security measures, Palestinians have refused, for the 12th consecutive day, to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, choosing instead to pray before the gates or in the streets.
Palestinian officials reiterated their rejection of all alternative measures to control security, including the personal inspection of worshipers, which was recently ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Our position is very clear; all the Israeli procedures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings after July 14 (the date of the initial closure of the compound) are totally unacceptable because they aim to impose an occupation control over the mosque,” Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, told Asharq al-Awsat.
“Smart cameras, sensors, bridges and barricades will not be accepted. It is true that Israel has removed the gates, but it is working on security alternatives, and it keeps seven doors out of nine closed,” he added.
During an emergency meeting held on Tuesday, Palestinian officials called for escalating popular struggle and holding Friday prayers in public squares rather than mosques.
President Mahmoud Abbas said that security coordination with Israel would be restored only when the occupation forces cancel all procedures at al-Aqsa.
“If things do not return to what they were before July 14 in Jerusalem, there will be no changes in our stance,” he stated.