Palestinians demand Al-Aqsa mosque's return to status quo before July 14 shootings

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-26 11:52:37|Editor: Liangyu
Video PlayerClose

RAMALLAH, July 25 (Xinhua) -- After Israel removed recently installed metal detectors and some of the surveillance video cameras from the entrances to Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Palestinians on Tuesday demanded the holy site's return to status quo before July 14 shootings.

Boycott continued as hundreds of Muslim prayers stayed away from the mosque in East Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded on Tuesday a return to the status quo prior to July 14 before resuming contact with the Israeli side.

"There will be no changes in the Palestinian position," Abbas said. "All measures taken against Al-Aqsa Mosque after July 14 should be canceled and ended."

"The situation in Jerusalem has to get back to normal, then we will resume ties between us and Israelis," he added.

On July 14, three Arab-Israeli gunmen opened fire and killed two Israeli police and were later shot dead inside the compound of Al-Aqsa mosque. After the shootings, Israel installed metal detectors and surveillance cameras at the entrances. The Israeli security move sparked widespread Muslim protests in East Jerusalem and West Bank cities including sit-ins and street prayings that sometimes turned into deadly clashes with Israeli forces.

Palestinians believe the Israeli security measures are an attempt to change the status quo at the Muslim-run compound so as to gain more control over the holy site, known as Temple Mount to Jews.

On Tuesday, Islamic religious trust Waqf that administers the site called on Muslim worshippers to further avoid the mosque until it makes a decision after studying the security changes Israel made.

Israel said it plans to use new security measures "based on advanced technology and other measures instead of metal detectors."

The existing situation in East Jerusalem has raised the international community's concern about a spread of violence.

During the monthly United Nations Security Council debate on the Middle East held on Tuesday, Nickolay Mladenov, special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and personal representative of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warned of a risk of "dragging both sides into the vortex of violence with the rest of the region."