Israel agrees to video surveillance at Temple Mount

After meetings with leaders, Kerry says Netanyahu has agreed to 24/7 video surveillance in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa compound, Israeli officials and Waqf authorities soon to meet to discuss meeting tensions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed to protect and maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount in a statement to international press released Saturday night, saying, "Israel will continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount."



Earlier in the evening, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israel and Jordan have agreed on steps aimed at reducing tensions at the Jerusalem holy site.


Kerry said the steps include round-the-clock video monitoring and Israel's reaffirming of Jordan's special and historic role as custodian of the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.


On Sunday morning, Netanyahu said Israel "has an interest" in round-the-clock video surveillance as the cameras will allow Israel "to refute the claim" that Israel is changing the status quo, "and in order to show where the provocations really start, as well as to thwart them."


John Kerry and Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman (Photo: Reuters)
John Kerry and Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman (Photo: Reuters)


"All the violence and the incitement to violence must stop. Leaders must lead," Kerry told reporters following a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman.


Kerry added that Israeli and Jordanian authorities will meet about bolstering security.


Outlining the series of understandings, Kerry said:


 Israel "fully respects" Jordan's "special role" as custodian of the site.


 Israel will continue to enforce its policy of religious worship, including "the fundamental fact" that it is Muslims who pray there and non-Muslims who visit.


 Israel has no intention of dividing the site and rejects any attempt to suggest otherwise.


 Israel welcomes increased coordination between Israeli authorities and Jordan to ensure that visitors and worshippers "demonstrate respect and restraint."


Jewish men at the Temple Mount
Jewish men at the Temple Mount


Noting the video monitoring, Kerry said it would provide "comprehensive visibility and transparency, and that could really be a game-changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of this holy site."


"Israel will continue to enforce its long-standing policy on religious worship ... at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, including the fundamental fact that it is Muslims who pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, and non-Muslims who visit," Kerry added.


"I hope that based on these conversations we can finally put to rest some of the false assumptions, perceptions" about the holy site, Kerry said. "Those perceptions are stoking the tensions and fueling the violence and it is important for us to end the provocative rhetoric and start to change the public narrative that comes out of those false perceptions."


Speaking after Kerry, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh emphasized the need to "address the root cause of the entire problem. The root cause is the need to have a Palestinian state that lives side-by-side with a secure Israel and all the people in the nations of this world and in this region in particular living in peace and security."


The Jordanian minister also said that his country "is not a mediator or an observer. Jordan is a stakeholder. When it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli peace, all of the final status issues between the Palestinians and the Israelis touch the very heart of Jordan’s national security and national interests."


In his statement on Saturday night, Netanyahu stressed that Israel is not interested in dividing the Temple Mount.


"We welcome increased coordination between the Israeli authorities and the Jordanian Waqf, including to ensure that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area, and all this in accordance with the respective responsibilities of the Israelis authorities and the Jordanian Waqf," said Netanyahu.


Israel strongly opposed a recent French initiative to place international observers at the Temple Mount, a proposal that led to the French ambassador being reprimanded by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.


Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee, said that during a meeting with Kerry, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas asked for the formation of an international investigative committee regarding escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


According to Erekat, Abbas was told by Kerry that Netanyahu had agreed to freeze building in West Bank settlements. Netanyahu denied this on his official Twitter account.


Kerry had met with Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday.


The news agencies contributed to this report.



פרסום ראשון: 10.24.15, 16:42
 new comment
This will delete your current comment