Removal of metal detectors from al-Aqsa right but not enough: President Erdoğan
AFP photoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 26 that the removal of metal detectors from the entrances to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City was a right move but not enough.
“Israel’s step back from the metal detector implementation that offends Muslims is right but not enough,” Erdoğan said during an event to discuss higher education in the Islamic world at the presidential complex in Ankara.
He also urged abstaining from policies that would throw the region into the “circle of fire.”
“Israel is attempting to damage the Islamic character of Jerusalem with new practices every day by taking advantage of the current weakness of Muslims,” Erdoğan said.
“Those who criticize our country whenever possible suddenly become silent when the issue is Palestine, Jerusalem, or Muslims' rights or laws,” the president said.
“How sorrowful it is that separations are on the agenda of the Islam world rather than unity, and conflicts rather than peace,” he said.
Anger has spilled across the West Bank since Israel shut East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque following a deadly shootout July 14. The site is venerated by Muslims and Jews, who call it the Temple Mount.
The mosque was reopened after two days, with Israel installing metal detectors and cameras at its gates.
Three Palestinians were killed Friday in protests against the measures around the holy site. Three Israelis were also killed in an attack in a settlement in the West Bank.
Israel refused to remove the detectors, claiming the security measures were similar to procedures taken at other holy sites around the world.
But facing international criticism and pressure, Israel's security Cabinet decided late Monday to remove the metal detectors. A statement released after the meeting said a new surveillance system using "smart checks" based on advanced technology would be put in place.
Jerusalem is sacred Muslims, Jews and Christians -- and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the Islamic world's third holiest site behind the cities of Mecca and Medina.