Muslim Leaders End Boycott Of Al-Aqsa Mosque After Removal Of Security Measures
The Mufti of Jerusalem declared an end to the Muslim boycott of the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa compoundin effect for two weeks—following Israel’s decision to remove all security measures and infrastructure placed at and around the holy site. Metal detectors and frames to hold advanced cameras were installed at the complex in the wake of a July 14 attack in which three Muslim Israelis opened fire, killing two police officers and wounding a third. Mass protests ensued, with Muslim authorities accusing the government of Binyamin Netanyahu of trying to assert sovereignty over al-Aqsa—known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif—and of changing the “status quo” governing relations between the three monotheistic faiths at the mount. Now, attention turns to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who previously green-lighted “a day of rage” to take place on Friday, with leaders of Fatah’s Tanzim so-called “military arm” scheduled to hold mass demonstrations throughout the West Bank. Rather than ending the tension, it appears that the Israeli capitulation has injected new fervor into the organizing groups. Tanzim leaders met with Fatah leadership and called for an escalation of violent clashes with [presumably Palestinian and Israeli] security forces. Friday’s main weekly Muslim prayers—which typically draw up to ten thousand people to al-Aqsa but are expected to draw far more this week. The charged atmosphere could easily result in mass confrontations.