Palestinians Reject Plan for Greater Transparency Over Jerusalem Holy Site

Sebastian Scheiner/AP
Washington, DC

A move to improve surveillance capabilities on the Temple Mount compound that hosts the Al-Aqsa mosque is “a new trap,” the Palestinian foreign minister has claimed.

The idea for more transparent security measures on the holy site comes via the suggestion of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who said that the measure would remove doubts and rumors about the treatment of visitors there, and would greatly improve safety in the area.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said over the weekend that Israel had approved “an excellent suggestion” by the Jordanian King to install the new security devices to help monitor the situation.

However, the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, has said that the security cameras will be used by Israeli authorities to arrest Muslims whom it suspects of incitement against the country, he told Voice of Palestine radio on Sunday.

“There will be no change to the prayer arrangements for Muslims and procedures for Jews to visit will be maintained,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the new security advances. Israel “has an interest in cameras being deployed everywhere on the Temple Mount” to show the world that the status-quo on the site has not changed, he added.

The security cameras “will calm things down and prove that we are not changing the status quo,” defense minister Moshe Yaalon told Israel Radio. “Jews will continue to visit but not to pray.”

Israeli officials continue to insist that the status quo on the holy site has not changed, and that Palestinian leaders are creating rumors to incite their population to commit acts of terror.

Ahmed Tibi, an anti-Israel, Arab member of the Israeli parliament, said that he rejects the plan agreed upon by Kerry, Abdullah, and Netanyahu.

“The problem is not the video cameras in al-Aqsa, but 24/7 free entrance to all Muslims. This is the promise that Netanyahu should give,” Tibi said.

Tibi’s comments came following Israel restricting access to the site to women and older men, as authorities believed that the mosque was being used to encourage acts of terror against innocents.

Meanwhile, the weeks-long Palestinian terror campaign against innocent Israeli Jews has continued into Monday, with several stabbing attacks occurring throughout the day.