Israel remains in favour of installing security cameras at the Al-Aqsa mosque 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 president Mahmud Abbas, US Secretary of State John Kerry endorsed a plan for cameras at the site in a bid to calm repeated disturbances.
Israeli 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 occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move not recognised internationally, houses the famed golden Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque.
Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces erupted at the compound last September amid fears among Muslims that Israel was planning to change rules governing the site which enable only Muslims to pray.
Netanyahu has repeatedly said there are no such plans.