Israel, Jordan end diplomatic standoff over embassy shooting


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would halt security ties with Israel until it scraps the walk-through gates installed at entrances to Al-Aqsa mosque plaza after two police guards were shot dead on July 14.

Abbas canceled scheduled security coordination meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials on Sunday, two days after he announced that Palestinian leaders had frozen all contact with Israel over the newly installed security measures at the Temple Mount.

Jews revere the hilltop compound in Jerusalem's Old City as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples.

On Friday, three Israeli settlers were stabbed to death at a settlement near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

Since the launch of mass protests over the Temple Mount metal detectors, four Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces, while another was killed Saturday when a Molotov cocktail he was planning to throw at Israeli security forces exploded prematurely.

The move comes after intensive worldwide diplomacy seeking to stop the outbreak of wider unrest, with warnings that it could spread far beyond Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Israel would pay a price for a dispute over security measures it imposed at the entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. It says it plans to install new security cameras instead.

The strife, including the deaths of three Israelis and four Palestinians in violence on Friday and Saturday, have raised worldwide alarm and prompted the U.N. Security Council to convene a meeting to seek ways of calming the situation.

More scuffles broke out around Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday night.

Israeli authorities say the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the site and emerged from it to shoot the officers.

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Israelis are wondering what all the fuss is about, commenting on Facebook and Twitter about how metal detectors are normal everywhere in the world and pointing out that Jews have to pass through them to get to the Western Wall, the holiest place where they are permitted to pray.

Israel made a decision to install the metal detectors at the entry point to the shrine in Jerusalem about a week ago after the killing of two Israeli policemen stationed there. The metal detectors may be the immediate reason for protests that have broken out across the region; it is control of the holy site that is at the heart of this outbreak of demonstrations.

The continued standoff highlighted the deep distrust between Israel and the Palestinians when it comes to the shrine - the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred in Judaism.

The compromise formula may be an Israeli agreement that the security guard will be questioned by an Israeli lawyer or another actor acceptable to Israel - and will share his testimony while the Jordanians can watch the interrogation.

As part of intensifying diplomatic efforts, President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.

The site is hugely politically sensitive and has been subject to a delicate set of arrangements - commonly referred to as the "status quo" - governing access, security and administration, for the past 50 years.

"If they (Palestinians) do not want to enter the mosque, then let them not enter the mosque".

Palestinians are refusing to enter Jerusalem's holiest site despite an agreement between Israel and Jordan created to defuse a week-long crisis, which has led to several deaths.

Palestinians view the new security measures as Israel asserting further control over the site.

The area, in East Jerusalem, has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Middle East war.