JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said security coordination with Israel will remain frozen despite Israel removing the metal detectors it placed at the entrances for Muslim worshippers to the Temple Mount.
Abbas made the announcement on Tuesday hours after the metal detectors and security cameras placed at the holy site less than two weeks ago were dismantled.
“All new Israeli measures put in place since July 14 must be removed so things can go back to normal in Jerusalem and we can resume our work regarding bilateral relations,” Abbas said at the beginning of a meeting with the Palestinian leadership.
The metal detectors were installed at the entrance to the Temple Mount after three Arab-Israelis shot and killed two Israeli police officers there on July 14.
Abbas canceled scheduled security coordination meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials on Sunday, two days after he announced that Palestinian leaders had frozen all contact with Israel over the newly installed security measures at the Temple Mount. It reportedly was the first time that security cooperation has been halted since Abbas was elected nearly a decade ago.
Late Monday night, the Israeli Security Cabinet said it would remove the metal detectors and security cameras and instead incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies, called “smart checks,” and other measures instead of metal detectors. Israel will pay up to 100 million shekels, about $30 million, over the next six months to install the new devices, which include sensitive security cameras.
Despite the removal by Tuesday morning of the metal detectors, Muslim worshippers have continued to stay away and pray at the gates leading to the holy site, as they have since the metal detectors were installed. At least five Palestinians have died in clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police over the security measures.