Palestinians ended a two-week-long protest of Israeli security measures after Muslim religious leaders in Jerusalem told worshippers on Thursday that they could once again enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound.
Israel overnight removed all security infrastructure it had put in place this month at Muslim entrances to the Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, stepping up its efforts to defuse political and religious tension.
Palestinians sang, danced and let off fireworks as railings and security camera gantries were removed from the Lions' Gate entrance near the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in the early hours of Thursday morning.
"The technical report showed that all obstacles the occupation (Israel) put outside Al-Aqsa mosque were removed،" the head of the Waqf، Abdel-Azeem Salhab، said.
They also called for closing all mosques in Jerusalem on Friday so that people can hold the Friday noon prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Palestinians do not recognise Israel's authority in East Jerusalem, which they want as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and are extremely sensitive to the presence of Israeli security forces in and around the Noble Sanctuary.
Since the metal detectors went up, three members of an Israeli family have been stabbed to death at their home in a West Bank settlement, and four Palestinians have been killed in clashes with security forces in and around Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
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It is not right to take such action without passing any notice or conducting any enquiry, ' adding, "other parties are with us". And unable to understand why this happened, as I did not prevent them from raising any issue.
Palestinians viewed the installation of the surveillance equipment as Israel asserting further control.
But just as the Waqf was preparing to issue instructions for a fresh round of rioting, Israeli Police opened the gate, allowing Muslim hordes to stream through, straight into the Temple Mount compound with nary a security check.
Several Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli troops during riots in the West Bank. Before the announcement, factions had been calling for a "day of rage" on Friday, which would probably have fueled the violence. "[You are] taking care of your al-Aksa Mosque, your land, your dignity, your people, your religion and your holy sites".
Israel has not yet made any new statements about the removal of remaining security measures but announced early Tuesday that it would be investing 100 million Israeli shekels (about $28 million) on a security system that harnessed "advanced technology".
Amid the crowds, there was a visible Israeli security presence.
In the poll of 502 Israeli adults, conducted by Midgam Research & Consulting, 68% of respondents said installing metal detectors at the Temple Mount's gates following a terror attack there that saw two Israeli-Druze policemen murdered by three Arab gunmen two weeks ago was the correct move.
"Al-Jazeera stresses that it would take all necessary legal measures in case they act on their threat..." Under the delicate arrangements that have governed the site's administration for decades, Jordan maintains a custodian role, reaffirmed in its peace treaty with Israel in 1994.