The head of the Jerusalem Waqf trust said Tuesday that his office would continue to tell Muslims to pray in the streets until the rollback of all new security measures enacted by Israel in the Temple Mount area.

Following noon prayers, which passed peacefully, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib al-Tamimi told the Times of Israel that no decision had been made as to whether the Waqf, which administers the Temple Mount, would accept alternative security arrangements being put in place by Israel, including “smart cameras.”

Sheikh Azzam Khatib Tamimi, director of the Jerusalem’s awqaf department, commended Jordan’s efforts to safeguard the holy city’s identity (JT photo)

Muslim worshipers have stayed away from the sacred compound since Israel installed metal detectors there last week in the wake of a July 14 terror attack carried out with guns that had been smuggled onto the Mount. Instead, they have performed mass prayer protests outside the shrine, many of which devolved into clashes with Israeli security forces.

The detectors were removed early Tuesday morning, but metal railings and scaffolding placed by the police in recent days are still in the area where the metal detectors once stood, and Muslims are staying away in protest.

Israel’s security cabinet said it would replace the metal detectors with “advanced technologies,” referring reportedly to cameras that can detect hidden objects, but said the process could take up to six months.

The entrance to the Temple Mount near Lion's Gate, on July 25, 2017, after the removal of metal detectors and security cameras. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)

The entrance to the Temple Mount near Lion’s Gate, on July 25, 2017, after the removal of metal detectors and security cameras. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)

One Waqf official as well as other Muslim worshipers in the Old City claimed Israel had already placed new cameras inside the compound. Police declined to comment on whether cameras had been installed.

The metal detectors were set up by Israel following a July 14 attack in which three Arab Israeli assailants killed two Israeli police officers just outside the Temple Mount, having smuggled their weapons onto the site beforehand and having emerged from it to carry out the attack.

For midday services on Tuesday, hundreds of Palestinians prayed in a parking lot belonging to the Waqf, just inside the Lions Gate to the Old City, meters from the Gate of the Tribes entrance to the Mount.

Muslim worshipers participate in midday prayers in a parking lot near the Lions Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, refusing to enter the Temple Mount enclosure to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque inside, July 25, 2017. (Dov Lieber /Times of Israel)

Muslim worshipers participate in midday prayers in a parking lot near the Lions Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, refusing to enter the Temple Mount enclosure to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque inside, July 25, 2017. (Dov Lieber /Times of Israel)

Speakers used for the prayer service were placed on top of a car and the roof of a metal storage unit in which several cars were parked.

The prayers ended peacefully and the worshipers dispersed.

In addition to the Lions Gate, hundreds of Muslim worshipers attended afternoon prayers in Old City alleyways leading to the Temple Mount. At least 300 worshipers blocked the Al-Takiya Ascent next to the Mount.

Muslim women, protesting Israeli security measures at the Lions Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and refusing to enter the Temple Mount enclosure to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque inside, July 25, 2017. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)

Muslim women, protesting Israeli security measures at the Lions Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and refusing to enter the Temple Mount enclosure to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque inside, July 25, 2017. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)

In areas outside the Old City that saw violent clashes on Friday, worshipers also prayed in the streets, prostrating themselves on prayer mats brought from home. Those prayers also ended peacefully without disturbances or clashes with police.

Some worshipers said they were not prepared to accept any new security measures by Israel, including the smart cameras.

Many of the worshipers expressed fears of the cameras.

One worshiper, Ibrahim Mahmoud, said he was concerned that the cameras “would show the naked bodies” of those who passed by them.

Another worshiper worried that the new cameras might cause cancer.

“Israel wants to control who can enter the mosque. This is not a mall, it’s a mosque,” he said.

While some said they were avoiding entering because the Waqf had yet to permit it, Mahmoud said the protests were being organized by “the Jerusalem street, who come here to pray five times a day.”

“There is no Fatah or Hamas here. Just the people,” he said.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-peaceful-protest-muslims-pray-outside-temple-mount/