Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is refusing to remove metal detectors at the gates of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, despite advice from the Israeli army and Shin Bet secret police that he should do so.
I told Al Jazeera English on Saturday evening that Netanyahu’s rejection of this advice is a further indication that his move is political – part of Israel’s plan to consolidate its control over al-Aqsa, one of the holiest sites for Muslims.
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Four Palestinians shot and killed
On Saturday, 23-year-old Yousif Kashour was shot and fatally wounded near the Jerusalem village of al-Eizariya, as occupation forces continued to use live fire, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against those protesting Israel’s moves to tighten control over al-Aqsa.
Kashour is the fourth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli gunfire since Friday. Also on Friday, three Israeli settlers were killed in a stabbing attack in the occupied West Bank.
A 17-year-old Palestinian was meanwhile killed by a landmine left by the Israeli army in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry stated on Saturday.
I told Al Jazeera English that the metal detectors were only the spark for the protests. The background to the violence is Israel’s attempt, spearheaded by government-backed Jewish extremists, to tighten control over the occupied East Jerusalem holy site, with the aim of eventually taking it over completely.
World governments not helping
On Saturday, Sweden, France and Egypt called for the UN Security Council to urgently meet to discuss Jerusalem.
I noted that the situation is not being helped by world governments that refuse to hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable.
The EU’s embassy in Tel Aviv, for instance, tweeted its condemnation of the killing of the three settlers, but remained silent about Israel’s earlier slayings of Palestinians protesting for their rights.
A statement issued by the office of the EU foreign policy chief also fails to explicitly condemn Israeli killings of Palestinians, merely calling for an “investigation” of the deaths of the three protesters shot dead on Friday.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has said that investigations by Israel systematically whitewash crimes against Palestinians and serve as a “fig leaf” for the military occupation.
On Sunday, Palestinians continued their protests, praying and staging sit-ins in the streets near the compound.