Kerry: Israel, Jordan working to ease Temple Mount tensions

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday that Israel and Jordan have agreed on steps aimed at reducing tensions at a holy site in Jerusalem. Kerry said Netanyahu had expressed a commitment to continue enforcing the status quo, which says only Muslims may pray at the compound, while non-Muslims may only visit.

“All the violence and the incitement to violence must stop. Leaders must lead,” Kerry told reporters

Jordan is custodian of the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Al Aqsa.

Kerry said the steps include round-the-clock video monitoring and Israel’s reaffirming of Jordan’s special and historic role as custodian.

An Israeli government source told Ynet that Israel has an interest in installing cameras in the Temple Mount in order to disprove claims that Israel is changing the status quo. In addition, said the source, Israel wants to show that provocations are not started by the Israeli side.

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

“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 said after meetings in Amman.

It should be noted that 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.

Kerry made the announcement after meeting in Jordan’s capital King Abdullah II and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Kerry had meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday.