Arab League postpones meeting on Jerusalem for a second time


On Friday, anger boiled over and several thousand Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem after noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week.

A Palestinian stabbed a father, his son and his daughter to death in an Israeli settlement home on Friday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Palestinians in Jerusalem for the second week were refused access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site, at the Israeli gates. A neighbor, an off-duty soldier, heard the screams, rushed to the home and opened fire, wounding the attacker. Nevertheless, there has been no indication that either side is prepared to back down: the Israelis refusing to accept the logic of outrage over metal detectors or security cameras when such devices are routinely used elsewhere in the Arab world, and the Palestinians insisting, but not explaining, how the security devices could be a threat to the status when growing violence is undeniable.

On Friday, Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and closed it for Friday prayers, citing security concerns. The ministers were reportedly reviewing the initial decision on installing the metal detectors and weighing possible alternatives.

The Israeli military says it has carried out a wave of West Bank arrests following a deadly stabbing attack against an Israeli family.

Israel will not remove metal detectors whose installation outside a major Jerusalem mosque has triggered the bloodiest confrontations with the Palestinians in years, but could eventually reduce their use.

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Tensions ratcheted up even further in the occupied West Bank at the weekend after three Palestinians were killed and at least 400 wounded in some of the worst street violence in years. Top Muslim clerics called for a total boycott of the site until it was restored without security measures, saying the presence of metal detectors threatened the sacred site's delicate stability.

The Arab League postponed its "urgent meeting" of foreign ministers to discuss the ongoing clashes in Palestine from Wednesday to Thursday, according to an Arab League statement.

Two Palestinians died, including one when a petrol bomb exploded prematurely.

Haaretz reported that security forces said Abed identifies with militant Palestinian organization Hamas, but is not considered to be an active member. It was among areas of East Jerusalem that Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed as its capital, in a move not recognized internationally.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah urged global forces and the United Nations to swiftly and actively intervene to protect Palestinians. It said they were a necessary measure to prevent more attacks and were deployed routinely at holy sites around the world.