Protesters rejoice as Israel removes security facilities from Temple Mount
In bid to stem rising tide of violence and forestall yet another PA-announced 'day of rage' Friday, Israel begins removal of all recently-installed security apparatuses on Temple Mount, prompting worshipers to pour onto the streets, hand out candy in a symbolic display of victory.
Dozens of elated youngsters poured into the streets in eastern Jerusalem as Muslim residents of the area handed out candy to children and adults alike.
Israel not only acquiesced with demands by the Muslim worshipers and leaders of the Arab world to remove the metal detectors earlier this week, but it also removed scaffoldings designed for the installation of security cameras. The cameras themselves were taken down on Tuesday in line with a Security Cabinet decision.
Following the decision to remove the facilities, it was decided that the first early morning prayer service would still be held at the Lions’ Gate rather than at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Muslim leaders and Waqf leaders are set to attend a meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday morning where they will decide once again either to permit worshipers to begin praying inside the Al-Asqa mosque or call on protesters to continue the struggle.
Throughout the crisis, the Waqf and the PA have made defusing the tensions dependent upon Israel’s decision to reverse its decisions taken in the aftermath of the terror attack.
And despite Israel’s reversal, on Wednesday the Waqf announced that the worshipers would still refuse to enter Al-Aqsa even if the metal detectors were substituted for body checks at the entrance in accordance with a demand by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the meantime, Mahmoud Abbas called Wednesday for yet another ‘day of rage’ to be held Friday. Following the calls however, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that Israel needed to “show restraint.”
Guterres also consulted with all the main leaders involved, both Muslim and Jewish, and urged them to refrain from making inflammatory statements and engaging in provocative behavior.
"I am particularly concerned about the potential risk of escalating violence, urge all political, religious and community leaders to refrain from provocative action and rhetoric, and call on Israel to demonstrate restraint," Guterres said in a statement.