Abbas confirms halt to security coordination with Israel over Al Aqsa

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24 July, 2017

Indonesian Muslim community held rallies in several regions in the country on Friday, July 21, to protest Israeli measures on Al Aqsa Mosque compound.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has announced he is freezing ties with Israel, dealing a blow to fledgling Trump administration efforts to try to renew long-dormant peace talks. More than 200 Palestinians - the majority believed to be the perpetrators - and dozens of Israelis have been killed in the attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had come under pressure from right-wing members of his coalition, who urged him not to "cave in" to Palestinian protest, and said that removing the metal detectors would send a message of weakness and lack of resolve regarding Israeli control of the area.

According to news reports, Israeli police cancelled Friday prayers at the mosque after three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers were killed in a gun-battle in the mosque compound. It is also Judaism's holiest site, once home to biblical Temples.

Despite global pressure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet decided early on Friday to keep the metal detectors in place, saying they were needed to prevent arms being smuggled into the shrine.

However, Israel has refused to back down, saying the detectors match security measures at other holy sites around the world.

"We reject Israeli restrictions at the Aqsa Mosque", said Jerusalem's senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein.

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But by early afternoon, with police mobilising extra units and placing barriers to carry out checks at entrances to the Old City, there had been little serious violence.

Interviewed on Army Radio, Erdan said Israel may do away with metal-detector checks for all Muslims entering the al Aqsa compounds under alternative arrangements under review.

Tensions in Jerusalem's Old City boiled over into skirmishes after the midday prayer.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said reinforcements have been deployed in and around the Old City.

Police later fired stun grenades and tear gas towards protesters outside the Old City, while Palestinians threw stones and other objects at security forces in some areas. Roadblocks were in place on approach roads to Jerusalem to stop buses carrying Muslims to the site.

Since 1967, Israel has increasingly cut off east Jerusalem from its West Bank hinterland, leaving the city's Arab residents without a political leadership.


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