July 21, 2017
Zaha Hassan was quoted in a VICE article about violent protests over Jerusalem's holiest site:
Friday’s outbreak in violence followed a series of tit-for-tat actions by Israelis and Palestinians centering on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount. Israel brought escalations to a boil by closing the mosque for Friday prayers last week and installing metal detectors. That decision came after three Palestinian militants, whom Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld identified as terrorists, attacked a group of Israeli police officers guarding the mosque complex, killing two officers. All three attackers were killed in the shooting.
Israel insists the metal detectors are needed to prevent more attacks on Israeli security forces. “I assume that with time they will understand that this is not terrible,” Jerusalem police head Yoram Halevy told Israel’s Army Radio earlier this week.
But the placement of metal detectors has fueled anger among Palestinians who see the new security arrangements to enter Islam’s third-holiest site as part of a larger Israeli effort to enact sovereignty over the hotly contested holy site.
“The restrictions do little to enhance the security of either Palestinians or Israeli police but are a cynical ploy by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to extend Israeli sovereignty in a place [that] has been under Islamic… control for centuries,” Zaha Hassan, a human rights attorney and Middle East Fellow at New America, said in a statement sent to journalists.