US, Saudi Arabia and Jordan tell Israel 'remove al-Aqsa Mosque metal detectors'
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has faced internal and international pressure to remove the new metal detectors installed outside the Aqsa mosque compound in occupied east Jersusalem.
Netanyahu has received intensive lobbying from the US State Department, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to remove the new security checks, which have been boycotted by Palestinian worshippers since their introduction on Sunday and led to increased frictions.
"[The Jordanian government] would like to end this as quietly as possible. We expect everyone to help restore calm," Netanyahu said.
"We should look at the facts and the truth - the installation of metal detectors does not constitute any change in the status quo."
Israeli armed forces and police are expecting armed clashes across the West Bank on Friday as the Fatah movement called for a "day of anger".
Tens of thousands of worshippers will gather to pray by the eleven security barriers outside the mosque for Friday prayers tomorrow, as mosque officials urge Palestinians to boycott the Israeli security checks.
Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Waqf which runs al-Aqsa, told The New Arab the barriers were unacceptable and they were committed to the decision not to pray in the compound until the gates are removed.
Israeli army officials and top security agents have all recommended removing the metal detectors during a series of phone calls on Wednesday and Thursday, according to Haaretz.
An unnamed Palestinian official told the Saudi-owned newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat, on Thursday that Washington had expressed concerns over the barriers while Riyadh and Amman have both pushed for their removal before Friday.
The public security minister said on Thursday the gates were essential to maintain security in the area, after three Palestinian gunmen shot and killed two Israeli police officers last Friday.
"I assume there are contacts internationally to try to calm the situation, but in my eyes there is no reason why the situation should not be calm," said Gilad Erdan.
Israeli news reports suggest the prime minister will make a decision on their future by the end of Thursday.