Contrary to an agreement made by Israel, the U.S. and Jordan’s King last October, Jordan’s Prime Minister said that Palestinian opposition to the surveillance led to the decision.
Jordan is suspending the plan to install security cameras around the flashpoint Temple Mount complex over Palestinian opposition to it, Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Monday, according to Jordan’s Petra news agency.
The site, considered holy to both Muslims and Jews, is known to Muslims as the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Jordan retains custodial rights, administered by the Waqf, but Israel controls access.
An Israeli official responded to the announcement saying that “we welcomed the idea of cameras. We have nothing to hide and are happy to to see who is responsible for starting provocations. The Palestinian factions objected to it because they understood what these cameras mean.”
Palestinian belief that Israel intends to change the status quo at the site where Jews are allowed to visit but not pray, has been behind much of the recent tension in the city, sometimes leading to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. Tensions are expected flare again as the Jewish holiday of Passover approaches.
This tension led to discussions between the US, Israel and Jordan in October over how to scale down the level of conflict over the site as well as how to restore mutual trust, which led to the suggestion of the CCTV cameras.
The goal is to live-stream the footage from the compound.
Negotiations over the cameras stumbled due to disagreements over three practical issues: Where the footage will be transmitted to — whether it be Jordan, Israel or an open-access website; how much control Israel will have over the broadcast, with Jordan and the Palestinians refusing to allow the Israelis the capability to interrupt transmissions; and where the cameras will be located. Israel wants them inside the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in order to prove that both are used to house weapons and stones that Palestinians use against Israeli security forces. Jordan and the Palestinians are opposed to this.
Earlier this month Israel’s Channel 10 reported that notices had appeared around the complex threatening to destroy security cameras installed at the holy site.
The flyers, written in Arabic, prompted Jordan to announce that the cameras will not be used to document Muslim worshipers.
It was not immediately clear who posted the flyers. Some Israeli media claimed that the notices were posted by Palestinians, while Arabic language media denied the claims.
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