Israel’s security cabinet decided during a meeting on Monday night to remove the metal detectors installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The metal detectors have aroused a wave of protests among Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which have echoed across the Arab world. Security forces were already seen removing at least some of the metal detectors late on Monday night.
A senior Israeli official who attended the cabinet meeting, which lasted around four hours, noted that the metal detectors “will be replaced by advanced technological means” that will enable “smart inspection” throughout Jerusalem’s Old City to ensure the security of visitors to the Temple Mount compound.
“The cabinet accepts the recommendation of security officials to replace the metal detectors with security inspection based on advanced technologies – smart inspection – and other means to ensure the security of visitors and worshipers in the Old City of Jerusalem,” the cabinet said in a statement.
The senior official also noted that in addition to the metal detectors, some of the cameras that have been installed at the holy site in the past few days will be removed, too.
He said that the police will formulate a plan to install the new security system throughout the Old City to solve security needs at the compound. According to him, the security cabinet has allocated 100 million shekels to the Israel Police and the Ministry of Public Security to prepare for and eventually implement the new system.
Israel Police and Border Police will deploy additional forces throughout the Old City to ensure the security of visitors to the compound, the official said, adding that the cabinet emphasized that Israel intends to maintain the status quo at the holy site.
The metal detectors were installed at the Temple Mount after three Israeli Arabs carried out an attack at the compound, shooting dead two border policemen. Israeli police responded by closing down the compound and canceling prayers that day. Twenty-four hours later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the metal detectors installed at the site as a security measure to prevent similar attacks.