Jordan said on Sunday it will set up security cameras on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, in the coming days to monitor any Israeli “violations” – namely any attempts by Jews to pray at the site in defiance of the discriminatory ban.
The announcement confirms fears that the cameras, originally agreed to by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on claims that it would expose violent Arab rioting at the holy site, are indeed to be used to incite against Jewish visitors. Despite being liberated in the the 1967 Six Day War by Israel, the site remains under the de facto control of the Jordanian Waqf, which bans Jewish prayer.
An agreement between Israel and Jordan to place the security cameras was brokered in October by US Secretary of State John Kerry, and stipulates that 24-hour security cameras covering the entire site would be installed in the compound.
However, Jordan’s Islamic Affairs Minister Hayel Daoud confirmed on Sunday that the cameras will not be installed inside the mosques on the site, where police have documented Islamists gathering rocks, fireworks and firebombs before hurling them at police in violent riots.
Daoud said a “control center” will be set up to monitor round-the-clock video surveillance of the compound, and the footage will be broadcast online to “document all Israeli violations and aggressions.”
The statement comes after Jordanian King Abdullah II in November said that only Jordan would have access to the footage from the cameras, and will choose what segments to share with Israel and via the internet.
Following Abdullah’s announcement Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) called on Netanyahu to cancel the camera initiative, but Ariel’s own party head Naftali Bennett supported placing the cameras, and further voiced his support for banning Jewish prayer at the Mount.
The latest heavy round of riots on the Temple Mount was recorded in September, around the start of the current wave of Arab terror attacks that has already claimed the lives of 34 victims.