Although no cameras will be installed inside the Al-Aqsa mosque, live-streaming footage from a CCTV grid across the holy site will be monitored by both Israeli & Jordanian officials, to help maintain order on the Temple Mount, says a Jerusalem official.
By Shlomo Cesana
Israel and Jordan agreed over the weekend to install surveillance cameras on the Temple Mount, which would enable both parties to monitor security incidents at the Jerusalem holy site. The closed-circuit TV grid is expected to become operational before the Passover holiday, in mid-April.
Temple Mount – Photo: IsraelandStuff/PP
Israel considers the move an achievement, as according to one senior Jerusalem source, it would enable Israel to monitor and document Muslim rioters. “This is a significant supervisory measure to maintain order on the Temple Mount,” he said.
The move followed an agreement reach between Israel and the Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian trust that manages the Islamic edifices around Al-Aqsa mosque, after several weeks of violent riots on and around the Temple Mount. The riots were incited by false Palestinian propaganda alleging that Israel seeks to change the status quo at the site and that Al-Aqsa mosque was “in danger.”
Installing surveillance cameras across the compound was at the heart of a compromise brokered between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to the deal, live-streaming footage from the closed-circuit TV grid installed across the holy site will be monitored by Israeli and Jordanian officials at all times.
The Passover deadline was chosen as the number of Jews visiting the site usually increases during the holiday.
Monitoring the area is in both parties’ interests: Israel seeks to demonstrate that visits to the Temple Mount are subject to police supervision, as well as to document Palestinian aggression toward Jewish visitors, while the Palestinians claim monitoring the area will prove their allegations that Jewish visitors provoke Muslim worshippers.
Jordanian Waqf and Islamic Affairs Minister Hayel Dawood stressed over the weekend that surveillance cameras will not be installed inside the mosque itself. The latter fact is being presented as a Palestinian and Jordanian achievement, as Israel sought to install closed-circuit TV inside the prayer compound, where rioters have barricaded themselves in the past.
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