Campaign for Jerusalem begins after Palestine freezes contacts with Israel

Elias Hubbard
July 25, 2017

On Friday, Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and closed it entirely for Friday prayers, citing security concerns.

They were also at the root of the current violence which began last week when Arab gunmen fired from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. At least two Palestinians, aged 17 and 18, have died in separate incidents in the West Bank after suffering injuries caused in the latest clashes.

During more than a week of tension over new Israeli restrictions on access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna has been among the most vociferous in his support of unity between Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has announced he was freezing contacts with Israel over the dispute, said on Sunday this included the security coordination that has been credited with preventing wider unrest in recent years.

At Sunday's weekly government meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is constantly monitoring the security situation in Jerusalem and will "decide accordingly" what actions to take.

The arrests throughout the West Bank included "senior members", a statement from the Shin Bet internal security agency said, and was part of preventive measures in the wake of "the tensions around the Temple Mount".

Israel enacted the new security measures after two border police officers were killed at the site by Israeli Arabs who used guns that had been smuggled into the al-Aqsa mosque.

The Middle East Quartet of Russian Federation, the US, the European Union and the United Nations issued a statement Saturday that expressed great concern for "the escalating tensions and violent clashes" in and around the Old City, where the revered place of worship is located.

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man following clashes outside Jerusalem's Old city July 21, 2017.

The attacker at the settlement was a 19-year-old Palestinian supporter of Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, according to an Israeli military official.

Clashes also flared in east Jerusalem and other Palestinian villages in the West Bank near Jerusalem on Saturday, police said. Bin said the attacker was wounded and evacuated to hospital.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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