Published: Thu, July 20, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

What Waqf, Palestinian & Muslim Reactions To Temple Mount Events Teach Us

What Waqf, Palestinian & Muslim Reactions To Temple Mount Events Teach Us

The Temple Mount was closed Friday and reopened Monday with additional security measures including metal detectors-a change that was protested by Palestinians.

Palestinians in Jerusalem are heeding calls by senior Islamic leaders not to cooperate with the Israeli security measures enforced against those entering Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On the sidelines, Palestinian stone-throwers have clashed with Israeli police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the former grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian territories, said on Saturday that the closure was a "collective punishment" that affected thousands of worshippers.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said the protests are not just about the implementation of the new security measures by Israel.

The sovereignty over the compound, and by extension, Jerusalem, is one of the focal points of Israeli and Palestinian national narratives and among the obstacles in peace negotiations.

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Friday prayers will be conducted in public squares in Palestinian cities to denounce Israeli "terrorist procedures" in Jerusalem, Fatah announced.

Leaders of the Muslim religious trust that runs the site urged worshippers not to pass through the metal detectors, describing them as a violation of a delicate status quo with Israel and held a prayer service next to the devices. Israel allows the Jordanian-controlled Waqf to serve as custodians of the Temple Mount and grants Muslim worshippers access to the Mount twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week with the exception of rare instances of security threats.

The site houses the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine, Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, as well as the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

At least three armed terrorists were killed in a gunfight with security forces on Friday, July 14, at the Lions' Gate, which is situated directly northeast of the Temple Mount compound. By Tuesday, five of the eight gates used by Muslims had been fitted with metal detectors, and three of those five gates were open, Muslim officials said.

The party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for a "day of rage" in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank to protest new security measures at the Temple Mount. But apparently Israel now has metal detectors that can intercept Muslim prayers to Allah.

He claimed the detectors were the latest attempt by Israel to change the delicate balance of prayer and visiting rights, known as the status quo, at the site which is revered by both Muslims and Jews, who call it the Temple Mount. He also telephoned the secretary-general of the Arab League and of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.

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