By Reuters – Jul 22,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
Palestinians gather to perform Friday prayer at Ras El Amud neighbourhood after Israel restricted entrance of Palestinians under 50 years old to Al Aqsa Mosque Compound and assembled metal detector gates in Jerusalem on Friday (Anadolu Agency photo)
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli occupation forces killed three Palestinians on Friday, imposing new Israeli measures at Jerusalem’s holiest site.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the suspension of all official contact with Israel until it removed the metal detectors. He gave no details, but current contacts are largely limited to security cooperation.
“I declare the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side on all levels until it cancels its measures at Al Aqsa Mosque and preserves the status quo,” Abbas said in a brief televised speech.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Mohammed Sharaf, 17, and Mohammad Hassan Abu Ghannam, age unknown, died of gunshot wounds in two neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem somewhat away from the epicentre of tension in the walled Old City. It reported a third Palestinian fatality, Mohammed Lafi, 18, later.
Israel decided to instal the metal detectors at the entry point to the shrine in Jerusalem’s walled Old City on Sunday. The shrine includes Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, and the golden Dome of the Rock.
Despite international pressure to remove the metal detectors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security Cabinet decided in Friday’s early hours to keep them in place, saying they were needed to prevent arms being smuggled into the shrine.
In protest, thousands of worshippers gathered for Friday prayers at various entrances to the sacred compound, which sits on a marble and stone plateau in the Old City. They refused to enter, preferring to pray outside, in some cases filling the narrow alleyways of the Old City’s Muslim quarter.
“We reject Israeli restrictions at the Aqsa Mosque,” said Jerusalem’s senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein.