Palestinians demand all measures be lifted at Jerusalem holy site

dome-jerusalemNEW YORK: The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday demanded that all Israeli security measures at a Jerusalem holy site be removed after Israel lifted some obstructions that had triggered violent protests.

“De-escalation is urgent,” Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative, told a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East.

Mansour appealed for a “continuation of all efforts to restore the historic status quo at Al-Aqsa mosque compound” and said “this requires the lifting of all measures in violation of the status quo.”

Five Palestinians have been killed in clashes sparked by the new Israeli security measures at the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The compound houses the revered Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and Dome of the Rock.

Earlier Tuesday, Israel removed metal detectors and cameras from the entrances to the compound and said it would carry out “security inspections with advanced technologies and other means.”

The metal detectors were put in place following an attack on July 14 that killed two Israeli police officers.

Israel maintained that the equipment was needed to prevent weapons smuggling into the compound.

France said the Israeli move was “encouraging” and Britain said it was a welcome step that would help de-escalate tensions.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov welcomed the decision to remove the metal detectors and said Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will convene a meeting later Tuesday to discuss the developments.

Mladenov on Monday told the council that a solution to the crisis must be found before Friday prayers to avoid an escalation of the violence.

“All parties must refrain from provocative actions, show restraint, and bring a conclusive end to this crisis in the next few days,” Mladenov said on Tuesday