Israeli security assessments ongoing as decision on Temple Mount looms

By REUTERS
July 23, 2017 12:10

Decision on whether to remove metal detectors that provide security but raise antagonism by Muslim worshipers, expected later Sunday.

2 minute read.



Benjamin Netanyahu

PM Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not address the sensitive issue of metal detectors at the Temple Mount during opening statements he made at Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, saying only that security assessments were ongoing.

“Since the beginning of the events I have held a series of meetings and situational assessments with all the relevant security officials, including those on the ground,” Netanyahu said.

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"We are receiving updates and also recommendations and we are acting according to these," he continued. "We are acting calmly, with determination and responsibly, and will continue to so in order to maintain security.”
IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)

The issue of the metal detectors installed to the fury of the Palestinians following a terrorist attack at the Temple Mount a week ago is expected to be raised at a meeting of the security cabinet later in the day.

Gilad Erdan, Israel's public security minister,, said Israel may do away with metal-detector checks  under alternative arrangements under review. These could include reinforcing Israeli police at the entrances and introducing CCTV cameras with facial-recognition technologies.

"There are, after all, many worshippers whom the police knows, regulars, and very elderly people and so on, and it recommended that we avoid putting all of these through metal detectors," Erdan told Army Radio, suggesting that only potential trouble-makers would be subjected to extra screening.

Any such substitute arrangement was not ready, he added.

Meanwhile, however ,other cabinet members have said publicly that the metal detectors will stay in place. 

"They will remain. The murderers will never tell us how to search the murderers," Tzachi Hanegbi, Israeli minister for regional development and a senior member of the ruling Likud party, told Israel's Army Radio.

"If they (Palestinians) do not want to enter the mosque, then let them not enter the mosque."

The Muslim authorities that oversee al Aksa said they would continue to oppose any new Israeli-imposed measures, however.

"We stress our absolute rejection of the electronic gates, and of all measures by the Occupation (Israel) that would change the historical and religious status in Jerusalem and its sacred sites, foremost the blessed Aqsa mosque," the Palestinian grand mufti, the acting Palestinian chief justice and the Jordanian-sponsored Wakf religious trust said in a joint statement.

Netanyahu also expressed the condolences of the cabinet to the Salomon family on the murder of Yosef, Chaya and Elad, who he said were killed by a “beast incited by the hatred of Jews.”

The prime minister said that the security forces were operating as needed on the ground, and that the terrorist's home will be destroyed "as soon as possible."

“We are also acting against those who incited to murder,” he said.

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