Tuesday morning, the Israeli government agreed to remove the metal detectors from the areas around the al-Aqsa mosque, a hugely important religious site under Israeli occupation. The move aimed to calm massive protests that raged on Friday over restrictions in the area.
At the same time, Israeli officials didn’t want to give the appearance that they were backing down, and vowed to use “advanced technology” as a less intrusive replacement for the metal detectors. They gave no indication what this would actually be.
Whatever it is, however, the Palestinian Authority is against it, with President Mahmoud Abbas saying that the situation around the mosque should go back to normal, and that all changes made since July 14 should be reversed.
Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN is also urging the international community to push for a return to the old system, saying that the recent crisis underscores the need to protect the mosque and other holy sites from Israel’s “destructive” agenda.
The Waqf, the religious body that runs the mosque, also demanded a reset to the pre-July 14 status quo, saying they’ll continue to encourage worshipers to stay out of the mosque itself, and pray in the streets surrounding it.
It’s not clear how big of a problem this will be however, as the metal detectors were a lot more visible and troubling for the worshipers heading to the mosque. No one even knows what the replacement will actually be, so it may ultimately not bother as many people, even if officially they object to any measures.