Israel Agrees to Remove Metal Detectors at Entrances to Aqsa Mosque Compound – New York Times

Mr. Netanyahu thanked President Trump for “directing” Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, and for dispatching Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, to the region to help with the effort to bring the Israeli Embassy staff home quickly. Mr. Netanyahu also thanked King Abdullah II “for our close cooperation.”

The crisis began with a brazen attack on the morning of July 14, when three armed Arab citizens of Israel emerged from Al Aqsa Mosque and fatally shot two Israeli Druze police officers who were guarding the compound. Mr. Netanyahu quickly ordered metal detectors and cameras placed at entrances to the contested and volatile holy site, which is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

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Zakaria Jawawdah, father of the slain Jordanian worker, Mohammad Jawawdah. “My son was not a trouble-maker or a terrorist and he did not belong to any political parties,” he said.

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Raad Adayleh/Associated Press

Palestinian Muslims refused to enter the esplanade through the detectors, praying outside in protest.

Jordan, an important regional ally of Israel, had taken a hard line against the detectors and other restrictions from the start. But the confrontation at the Israeli Embassy in Amman, Jordan’s capital, that occurred Sunday night, and the ensuing diplomatic standoff, jolted Israel, the Americans and the Jordanian leadership into action.

Lifting a nightlong news blackout on the embassy attack, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday morning that a Jordanian worker who had come to help replace furniture stabbed the Israeli security officer with a screwdriver. The security officer, who was not seriously wounded, “defended himself,” the ministry said.

The Jordanian worker — Mohammed Jawawdah, 16 — was shot and killed, according to Jordan’s Public Security Directorate, and the Jordanian landlord of the embassy’s residential quarters, a doctor who had accompanied Mohammed and another worker, was also hit and later died of his wounds. The official Jordanian reports described the event as a “shooting incident” and made no immediate mention of the stabbing.

Mohammed’s father, Zakaria Jawawdah, told Reuters, “My son was not a troublemaker or a terrorist, and he did not belong to any political parties.”

The episode quickly turned into a charged, if discreet, showdown over diplomatic immunity, and Mr. Netanyahu dispatched the chief of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, to Amman to handle the emerging crisis.

“I assured the security guard that we will see to bringing him back to Israel; we have experience in this,” Mr. Netanyahu said earlier.

Since the metal detectors went up, three members of an Israeli family were stabbed to death in an attack at their home in a West Bank settlement and four Palestinians were killed in clashes with security forces in and around Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.

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Israeli border police officers stood guard as Muslim men prayed at the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem in July.

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Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press

At the United Nations, the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors traded barbs on Monday, as the Security Council met behind closed doors with the United Nations envoy in charge of the tattered Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The Israeli ambassador, Danny Danon, accused the Palestinian Authority of rewarding the man who stabbed the Israeli family in the West Bank. “This attack is not an isolated incident. It is part of a wave of terror sweeping the free world by those brainwashed by hateful teachings,” he said.

The Palestinian ambassador, Riyad Mansour, retorted by pointing to Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and violence carried out by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Asked to comment on the stabbings, Mr. Mansour said the Palestinian authorities cannot be held responsible for the behavior of individuals who act out of frustration. “Don’t expect all Palestinians to be angels,” Mr. Mansour said. “Even some might take the issue in their hands as individuals.”

The metal detectors became the latest symbol of the broader struggle over ownership and control of the sacred site.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with its holy places, from Jordan in the 1967 war, and annexed the area in a move that was never internationally recognized. Under the delicate arrangements that have governed the administration of the site for decades, Jordan maintains a special role, reaffirmed in its peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Even before the deadly confrontation in Amman in the Israeli Embassy compound, Jordan — whose population includes many people with Palestinian roots — had called for an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers and had urged Israel to respect the historical status of the holy site, rescind unilateral moves and remove the metal detectors.

Israeli analysts said the sides had to find a solution that would not be seen as rewarding violence, from Israel’s perspective, but would placate the outraged Jordanian and Palestinian publics.


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