Jordanian officials arrive to set stage for Temple Mount cameras

Officials from Ministry of Religious Endowments to inspect technical side of setting up CCTV system on holy site

Israeli security forces walk near Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount on November 5, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Israeli security forces walk near Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount on November 5, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

A Jordanian delegation arrived in Jerusalem from Amman on Thursday in order to run preliminary tests for installing cameras on the Temple Mount compound.

The officials from the Ministry of Religious Endowments were to inspect the technical and engineering aspects of putting the CCTV equipment on the site, deemed holy to Jews and Muslims alike, and discuss with the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf locations for placing cameras.

Israel and Jordan agreed last month to install cameras on the Temple Mount to monitor activities by Jewish and Muslim visitors to the holy site in a bid to calm tensions that have helped drive the recent escalation in Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers.

The 37-acre (15-hectare) compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is a frequent flash point and its fate is a core issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the holiest site in Judaism, and was the home to two biblical temples. Muslims believe it is the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is the third-holiest site in Islam and houses Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gold-topped Dome of the Rock.

Speaking to the Jordanian press, Religious Affairs Minister Hayel Dahoud emphasized that the cameras wouldn’t be installed within Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock themselves. He reiterated a statement made earlier this month by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who allayed Palestinian concerns saying, “To be very clear, there will be no cameras inside the mosque.”

The control center for the cameras on the Temple Mount is to be controlled from Amman, but the footage would be broadcast on the Internet around the clock.

According to the minister, the project would be entirely under his authority’s command and is primarily concerned with protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

As per the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, Amman acts as the custodian of the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount.

AP contributed to this report.

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