Netanyahu faced pressure over Jerusalem holy site after violence kills eight people

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem May 10, 2015. REUTERS/Sebastian Scheiner/Pool/File Photo

Vastavam web:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced mounting pressure today over new security measures at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site after a weekend of violence left eight people dead, with fears more unrest could follow.Israeli officials signalled they may be open to changing the measures at the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, after the installation of metal detectors at entrances following an attack that killed two policemen stoked Palestinian anger. Netanyahu was also holding a cabinet meeting and was due to meet with his security cabinet later in the day.

“Since the start of the events, I have held a series of assessments with security elements including those in the field,” he said at the start of the meeting.”We are receiving from them an up-to-date picture of the situation, as well as recommendations for action, and we will decide accordingly.””We are examining other options and alternatives that will ensure security,” Mordechai said in an interview with Al-Jazeera.Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said he would continue to support the metal detectors remaining in place unless police provide a satisfactory alternative. Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit today accused Israel of “playing with fire” with the new security measures.

Tensions have risen throughout the past week over the metal detectors at the compound, which includes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, following the July 14 attack that killed two policemen.Palestinians reject the metal detectors because they view the move as Israel asserting further control over the site. Israeli authorities say the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the holy site and emerged from it to shoot the policemen.

Today’s main weekly Muslim prayers which typically draw thousands to Al-Aqsa brought the situation to a boil. In anticipation of protests, Israel barred men under 50 from entering the Old City for prayers.