04:46 GMT17 February 2020
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    The return of Palestinians to what Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims the Haram esh-Sharif was marked by placing a flag on a building of the contested holy site. The flag has now been removed by Israeli soldiers.

    A Palestinian flag was planted atop the Temple Mount for a while in a symbolic gesture of what the Palestinians perceive as a victory over the Israelis in a row over access to the site Thursday.

    After Israeli authorities removed the metal detectors and surveillance cameras that sparked violent protests lasting for two weeks, thousands of Muslim worshippers, encouraged by their religious leaders, finally returned to the religious compound.

    The Palestinian flag was installed on one of the buildings in the compound by some of the overjoyed Muslim protesters. A video published by the Jerusalem Post shows it being taken down.

    Protests began after Israeli authorities installed security measures at Temple Mount following a shooting in which three Israeli Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police officers on July 14.

    Palestinian worshippers refused to enter the compound with the security measures on, instead opting to pray outside.

    Currently, all men aged 50 or older and all women are allowed to enter the compound, according to France 24 report. Some worshippers have expressed disappointment with the restrictions, however, and demand that everybody be allowed to enter the religious site. Israeli police, however, insist that the checks are needed to prevent the possibility of an outbreak of violence, according to another Jerusalem Post report.

    Despite the abovementioned disagreements, the situation in Old Jerusalem is, for now, under control. Friday prayers there concluded without disturbances, despite clashes being reported in the West Bank.

    According to Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoner Club and a leader of Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, the fragile peace will be tested Saturday.

    "If the police and Border Police take a decision to act with restraint and allow this day to pass, even if the Palestinian people feel victorious and display happiness, things will go peacefully. But if the Israelis continue to try to show who is sovereign in Jerusalem, it will be dangerous. If the Palestinian joy turns into a strategic test for the state of Israel, there will be an explosion," Fares said.


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    flag, prayer, protests, Temple Mount, Palestine, Israel, Jerusalem
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