Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) announced on Friday that he had given orders to freeze all contact with Israel, at all levels. At that stage it was not clear whether Abbas would also halt the security liaison with Israel, which is important for both sides, but it has now become clear that such meetings with the Israeli side are included in the ban, Walla! News reports. The break in security cooperation is the first in the ten years since Abbas became head of the Palestinian Authority.
In the days preceding Abbas's decision, senior Israeli and Palestinian officials held consultations on ways of calming the situation in Jerusalem, where, following a lethal terrorist attack, metal detector gates had been installed at the entrance to the Temple Mount, making access to Al-Aqsa mosque subject to security inspection for Muslim worshipers. The move sparked protests and demonstrations in Jerusalem and in the Arab and Muslim world. The Palestinian side says that the new security arrangements are a humiliation and alleges that they represent a breach of the status quo in Jerusalem.
On Friday, Israel's security cabinet decided to authorize Israel Police to decide about security arrangements for the Temple Mount. The Waqf and the Palestinian Authority are apparently not prepared to compromise, and are demanding the removal of the metal detector gates before any talks are held about security in Jerusalem's Old City.
The security cabinet is due to hold further discussions today on the protests in the Old City and the disturbances in which four Palestinians have been killed.
In advance of the meeting, Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz said he would call on the Attorney General to instruct the military prosecutor to demand the death penalty for the terrorist who stabbed and killed three members of a family in Halamish on the West Bank on Friday night. Those murdered have been named as Yosef Salomon, aged 70, his daughter Chaya, aged 46, and his son Elad, aged 36. Members of the family had gathered in the house to celebrate the birth of a grandson. The attacker, named as Omar al-Abed, aged 19, from a nearby Palestinian village, was shot and wounded by a soldier through the window of the Salomons' home.
Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett has also called for the death penalty for Abed.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 23, 2017
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