For two weeks, Palestinians had been demonstrating against the imposition of fortress like security barriers around the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended security cooperation with Tel Aviv as a result of the militarisation of the third holiest site in Islam.
Over the weekend, impassioned demonstrations led to the deaths of three young Palestinians while over 120 others were injured.
Today, Israel announced a partial climb-down over the security barriers, namely the metal detectors manned by heavily armed guards. This was considered particularly insulting to worshippers entering a holy sanctuary.
The Israeli government’s cabinet issued the following statement in respect of dismantling part of the barriers,
“The cabinet accepts the recommendation of security officials to replace the metal detectors with security inspection based on advanced technologies – smart inspection – and other means to ensure the security of visitors and worshippers in the Old City of Jerusalem”.
The statement was confirmed in video footage which showed Israeli officers beginning to dismantle some of the barriers.
Palestine remains tense over the issue. It remains to be seen if Israel will continue to de-escalate the situation.