Israel's security cabinet voted on Tuesday to remove the newly-installed metal detectors outside the entrance to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, after nearly two weeks of violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the holy site.
The metal detectors had been installed as part of Israel's new security measures in Al-Aqsa compound, angering Palestinians who considered the move as an attempt for Israel to alter the status quo at the site, where Muslims legally have exclusive prayer rights.
The detectors will be replaced with unspecified advanced security technologies, prompting Palestinians to deem the move insufficient and continue their protests.
CNN reports that the decision to remove the detectors, which was announced by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office early Tuesday morning, was based on the recommendation of Israel's security agencies, according to the office's statement.
The detectors were installed almost two weeks ago as part of Israel's additional security measures at the site. The measures include banning Muslim men under the age of 50 from the compound, installing extra security cameras and deploying thousands of officers nearby.
The measures were taken in response to the three Palestinians who opened fire against Israeli security forces near Al-Aqsa compound on July 14, killing two of the latter, before being shot dead by Israeli police.
Fearing Israel's added control on the site might pave the way for alterations to the current agreement, which gives Muslims exclusive prayer rights in Al-Aqsa, Palestinians have taken to the streets to protest against the security measures and demand free access to Al-Aqsa.
Since then, several political and religious figures have called upon Israel to remove the metal detectors, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly suspending all official contacts with Israel until it does so.
"We will continue our protest," says Al-Aqsa director
The Israeli PM's statement mentioned that the detectors will be replaced with more advanced surveillance cameras, unspecified advanced technologies and "smart inspection," according to CNN.
The statement noted that the cabinet has allocated around $28 million for new equipment and additional police officers.
This suggests that Israel will keep the site under high security and assert further control over it, which goes against Palestinian demands.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reported that hundreds of Palestinians continued to protest against the security cameras as the metal detectors were being taken down.
According to Al Jazeera, the director of al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, said that keeping the security cameras does not fulfill the demands of Muslim worshippers.
Al Jazeera also quoted Sheikh Raed Saleh, an al-Aqsa official, as saying that the Palestinians would "never accept the current status, unless everything that was added after July 14 [when the shooting took place] was removed".
It's not just about security issues
Khaled el-Gindy, a fellow at Brookings Institution, explained the stance against the Israeli measures, saying that it is not "only about security issues".
"Those who say this is, reducing it to a relatively minor technical issue, really miss the narrative here," he said, adding that accepting the metal detectors "would in a way be seen as conceding to Israel's assertion of its sovereignty over the holy site and by extension to [the] whole of Jerusalem".
"It is an extremely politically loaded as well as practical matter for the Palestinians," he said.