July 23 (UPI) — Israel has installed security cameras near the entrance of Temple Mount in Old Jerusalem, nine days after an attack at the holy site and amid increased tensions in the region.
The cameras are in addition to metal detectors placed two days after the July 14 attack in which two Israeli officers were killed. The three terrorists who perpetrated the assault were shot to death.
The metal detectors drew protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
And after the additional security was announced, the leaders of the Waqf, the Muslim authority in charge of Temple Mount custodianship, and senior religious leaders issued a joint statement on Sunday morning, saying: “We oppose all means Israel implements at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque including metal detectors. We call on King Abdullah [of Jordan], Mahmoud Abbas [of the Palestinian Authority] and all leaders of Arab and Islamic states to take responsibility and use all means of pressure at their disposal to stop Israel’s aggressive behavior against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all contacts between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government Friday in protest of the metal detectors.
At Sunday’s weekly government meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is constantly monitoring the security situation in Jerusalem and will “decide accordingly” what actions to take.
“We are conducting this calmly, determinedly and responsibly and thus we will continue to act in order to maintain security,” Netanyahu said.
On Sunday, the Cairo-based Arab League called for an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers, scheduled for Wednesday, to discuss the latest Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary, said Arab League spokesman Mahmoud Afifi in a statement.
“Jerusalem is a red line that Arabs and Muslims wouldn’t allow to be crossed,” said Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit in a statement. “Israel is playing with fire and is risking sparking a crisis with the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
The United Nations Security Council called a meeting for Monday to discuss the latest development in the region. The Middle East Quartet, consisting of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union, issued a statement Saturday calling on all sides “to demonstrate maximum restraint, refrain from provocative actions and work towards de-escalating the situation.”
On Friday night, police say a young Palestinian man breached the West Bank’s settlement’s security fence and stabbed three Israelis to death at their home in Halamish.
The Israeli military said it arrested more than 20 Palestinians overnight Sunday near the site of the attack. The Palestinians were suspected of preparing attacks or being members of the militant group Hamas, an Israeli military official said.
Also, four Palestinians were killed in ongoing demonstrations against Israeli security forces Friday and Saturday.
The Israeli army’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, said that rocket fire directed at Israel on Saturday “attests to the explosiveness of this period, both from Gaza and from the West Bank.”
“Should war break out, our task is to win decisively, to achieve clear results and to push back the next war many years back,” Eisenkot said.
“The security situation is quiet, but it is very complex and volatile, and things can develop very quickly,” he added, referring to Gaza.