Israeli soldiers on Temple Mount
Amid rising Palestinian opposition to the plans by Jordan and Israel to install security cameras on the Temple Mount, Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour announced on Monday that his country would not proceed with the installations.
According to Ensour, the Hashemite Kingdom backed out of the joint initiative due to a lack of Palestinian support for the initiative.
Last month, the Jordanian Minister of Religious Affairs, Hayil Abdelhafeez Dawoud, announced that his country would install 55 cameras on the Temple Mount "to monitor and document the continued Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif." A few days prior to this, the Jordanian Minister of Media Affairs and Communications, Mohammad Momani, clarified that the cameras will not be placed inside the mosques.
The plan was met with widespread opposition from the Palestinians. Banners were hung all over the Temple Mount calling for Palestinians to smash the security cameras. One guard from the Waqf (Islamic Religious Endowments Organization), which is charged with managing the Islamic religious affairs on the Temple Mount, said that “We don’t need any cameras here. Only Allah sees all.”
Palestinians also launched a second banner campaign called “The picture is clear - so no cameras are needed,” bearing pictures showing Israeli policemen attacking and dragging Palestinians from the Mount.
The opposition, which was also joined by Hamas and other radical factions among Israel’s Arabs, was intended to prevent the live coverage that could thwart attempts by young Palestinians to start violent conflicts on the site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims and has been a focal point of violent clashes and demonstrations.
In an interview with the Petra news agency, the Jordanian prime minister claimed that despite alleged Israeli attempts to sabotage the project, Jordan overcame all the obstacles but that the real difficulty came from an unexpected place.
“We were surprised since our intention to carry out the project, by the response of some of our Palestinian brethren to the project, adding that they voiced their concern and cast doubt on its aims and objectives,” Prime Minister Ensour said.
He added that, out of respect for the choices of "our brethren in Palestine," in their national land (including the al-Aqsa Mosque), “we found that this project is a point of contentious and therefore, we decided to halt its implementation,” Ensour concluded. In anticipation of a significant increase in the number of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount ahead of the Jewish festival of Passover, Israel will deploy reinforcements around the compound in an effort to stop rioting and prevent terror attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.