Palestinians reject new measures at Al-Aqsa


OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel replaced metal detectors with CCTV cameras at the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday. Palestinians said the modified security measures were unacceptable.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the senior Muslim cleric who oversees Al-Aqsa compound both turned down the new Israeli measures and demanded all of them be removed.

“We reject all obstacles that hinder freedom of worship and we demand the return to the situation where things stood before July 14,” Hamdallah told his cabinet in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Waqf, the religious body that runs the Islamic sites in the Al-Aqsa compound, said worshipers would continue to stay away from the elevated, marble-and-stone plaza and pray in the streets outside.

A Waqf spokesman said it was awaiting a decision of a technical committee but was demanding the situation revert to the way it was before July 14, when the metal detectors were installed.

In the pre-dawn hours, municipal workers began work in some of the narrow stone-paved streets around the Al-Aqsa compound to install overhead metal beams that will hold closed-circuit TV cameras. Israeli media said there were plans to invest in advanced camera systems.

The cabinet statement added that it had allocated up to 100 million shekels ($28 million) for the equipment and for additional policing over the next six months. — Reuters