Israel removes metal detectors from Temple Mount

Israel has removed the metal detectors it installed at the Temple Mount and will instead put a smart camera system in place.  

Israel’s Security Cabinet decided Monday night to dismantle the metal detectors introduced at the entrance to the Temple Mount over a week ago following an Arab terror attack that left two Israeli policemen dead.

The installation of the new security measure caused an uproar in the Muslim world as well as deadly Palestinian violence in Israel.

Police worked through the night to remove the metal detectors.

According to a statement published by the Security Cabinet, it decided to accept the recommendation of “all of the security bodies” to remove the metal detectors and instead install security measures based on advanced technologies and a camera system known as “smart checks,” in order to ensure the security of visitors and worshipers in the Old City and on the Temple Mount.

Installation of the camera system is expected to take six months.

The Security Cabinet also decided to allocate a budget of up to NIS 100 million to implement the project, according to a plan to be presented by the Public Security Ministry. Until its implementation, the Israel Police will reinforce its units and carry out “additional actions as necessary in order to ensure the security of visitors on the Mount,” the statement said.

According to reports, Israel agreed to remove the metal detectors, an apparent retreat on its part, in return for the release of a security guard at Israel’s embassy in Amman who, after being attacked and stabbed on Sunday night, shot and killed two Jordanians – the assailant and, unintentionally, a bystander.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement thanking US President Donald Trump “for directing Jared Kushner and dispatching Jason Greenblatt to help with our efforts to bring the Israeli embassy staff home quickly. I thank King Abdullah as well for our close cooperation.”

Jordan initially demanded to interrogate the guard, and a standoff ensued around the embassy. It appears that through US brokerage, the deal was reached. The Prime Minister’s Office has denied these reports.

While a majority of the Security Cabinet voted in favor of the removal of the measures after a five-hour-long session, not all ministers agreed with the decision.

“The Cabinet’s decision is regrettable. You don’t have to be a security expert to understand that the metal detectors have a security and deterrence effect,” Minister of Culture Miri Regev stated.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said she did not understand the decision and that it was misguided. “Placing the metal detectors was a legitimate action. When what you want to do is ignite the region, any excuse works,” she said in an interview with Israel Radio on Tuesday, referring to the Palestinian leadership’s incitement to violence over the past week.

In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and national Palestinian religious figures have voiced their rejection to all alternative measures to the electronic gates placed at the entrances of the Temple Mount.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News