Israel says it still wants Temple Mount cameras after Jordan reneges

Israel official says Jerusalem believes in transparency, laments PA’s objection to security measure

Police seen at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 10, 2016. (Corina Kern/Flash90)
Police seen at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 10, 2016. (Corina Kern/Flash90)

Israel remains in favor of installing security cameras at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, even after Jordan reneged on the project due to Palestinian reservations, a senior official said Tuesday.

“Israel’s support for placing cameras on the Temple Mount remains unchanged. That’s because we believe in transparency,” the Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity, using the Jewish term for the site.

“It is regrettable that the Palestinian Authority objects to this idea. It’s clear that they don’t want repeated Palestinian provocations caught on tape,” the official said.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur had on Monday announced his state would not be proceeding with its plan to install 55 cameras at the site, Islam’s third holiest, citing Palestinian “doubts about the aims of the project”.

“Because we respect the point of view of the Palestinians… we believe the project is no longer consensual, but a potential source of conflict, and have decided to end it,” he said.

On March 20, Jordan said it would set up the security cameras around the flashpoint compound to monitor any Israeli “violations”.

The site, which is revered by Jews as their holiest, is administered by a Jordanian trust or “Waqf”.

In October, after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, US Secretary of State John Kerry endorsed a plan for cameras at the site in a bid to calm repeated disturbances.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed.

Kerry hailed the agreement as an important breakthrough at the time. On Monday the US State Department expressed disappointment that the plan has apparently failed.

“We still see the value in the use of cameras,” said spokesman John Kirby.

The compound in east Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War, houses the famed golden Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque.

Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian rioters erupted at the compound last September amid fears that Israel was planning to change rules governing the site which allows Jews to visit the site but not pray there.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said there are no such plans.

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