Numerous news sources are reporting that the Israeli security cabinet has agreed to remove metal detectors place at entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after a terror attack killed two Israeli policeman using weapons hidden at the al-Aqsa Mosque.

This eminently sensible security measure was met with Palestinian violence (including the stabbing death of three Israelis having Sabbath dinner). There were many other threats of holy war against the Jews incited not just by Palestinians, but also by other Muslim leaders around the world.

Most important, an Israeli security guard at the Israeli Embassy in Jordan killed an attacker who stabbed him. The Jordanians effectively took the security guard and other Israeli diplomats hostage by refusing to allow the security guard to leave the country.

Earlier today the entire Israeli diplomatic staff at the embassy, including the security guard, were allowed to leave.

The Times of Israel reported earlier today that the release of the diplomats appeared to be part of a broader deal with the Jordanians:

The staff of Israel’s embassy in Amman returned from Jordan through the Allenby Crossing on Monday night, including a security officer who had been wounded in a stabbing incident that caused a diplomatic flare-up between the two countries.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the return of the staffers, led by Ambassador Einat Schlein, was facilitated by “close cooperation” between Israel and Amman over the last day. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the guard’s release was part of a larger agreement to deescalate tensions over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem….

Earlier Monday, the director of the Shin Bet domestic security agency, Nadav Argaman, was in Amman in an effort to resolve the crisis, which erupted on Sunday, after the security officer shot dead his stabber and another Jordanian national inside the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman….

According to a readout published by Jordanian state media, the king demanded Israel find an “immediate solution” to ongoing crisis at the Temple Mount, and remove metal detectors it installed at entrances to the site following a terror attack earlier this month in which two Israeli police officers were killed just outside the compound by three assailants who had smuggled guns inside the holy site.

The king spoke of “the necessity to remove the measures taken by the Israeli side since the recent crisis began,” according to the readout and in reference to the unrest across Jerusalem and the West Bank after the implementation of the new security arrangements at the Temple Mount following the July 14 attack.

In an apparent payoff to the Jordanians, the Israelis just hours later decided to remove the metal detectors. Haaretz reports:

Israel’s security cabinet decided during a meeting on Monday night to remove the metal detectors installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The metal detectors have aroused a wave of protests among Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which have echoed across the Arab world.

A senior Israeli official who attended the meeting noted that the metal detectors “will be replaced by advanced technological means” that will enable “smart inspection” throughout Jerusalem’s Old City to ensure the security of visitors to the Temple Mount compound.

If this deal was a result of Jordanian hostage taking, or threats of religious violence, this capitulation will simply embolden the terrorist and Muslim fanatics behind the violence.

The absurdity of Palestinians complaining about metal detectors was captured by W.R. Mead prior to this latest development:

It would be difficult to imagine a less sympathetic grievance to attract Western support to the Palestinian cause. In fact, the Palestinian response will appear contemptible to anyone who bothers to read even the basic facts of the matter. Israelis can’t go into shopping malls and bus stations, let alone visit the Western Wall, without passing through a metal detector. But Israeli-style security measures are a fact of life in the West as well, with metal detectors now a ubiquitous presence at sports events and, yes, outside religious sites like Notre Dame in Paris.

There is also of course a deep historical irony. With the possible exception of al-Qaeda, Palestinian terrorism—which pioneered the use of plane hijackings, airport attacks, and suicide bombings—has perhaps done more to force the introduction of metal detectors into our daily lives than just about any other cause.

The justification for the deal is that Israel wanted to de-escalate, and gets the fig-leaf of “advanced technological means” as a substitute for the metal detectors.

First, I’m not so sure this will de-escalate anything, as the fanatics have insisted there be no new security means used. And sure enough, the capitulation is deemed insufficient, as The Independent reports:

A [Israeli] spokesperson said “sophisticated technology” will be used instead of the metal detectors, following local reports that high resolution cameras capable of detecting hidden objects would be the alternative.

Israeli security forces in the area are to be boosted until the plan is implemented, in response to a Palestinian terror attack that left two Israeli police officers and three Palestinian gunmen dead.

Earlier on Monday, metal railings were set up at the entrance to the shrine that are expected to be part of future security arrangements.

Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, the director of al-Aqsa Mosque, told Al Jazeera work to remove the scanners had started but the move still does not fulfil the demands of protesters as the cameras will remain.

Second, appearing to give in to hostage taking and violence simply encourages more of the same.The worst elements in the Arab and Muslim world will be emboldened, and will take Israeli capitulation as proof that only violence gets concessions.

Netanyahu and the security cabinet fully understand these points.

So what really was going on here?

[This post has been updated multiple times, and will be updated as we find out more.]


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