Jordan, PA suspicious of Temple Mount camera deal
Jordanian minister of Islamic Affairs for the Waqf, Ha’il Abed al Hafez, criticized Israel’s involvement in the placement of cameras on the Temple Mount Tuesday, claiming that the neutral interference of ‘professional bodies’ Israel promised could not be trusted.
“The installation of cameras must be done under the supervision of the Islamic Waqf,” Hafez claimed to Jordanian paper A-Dustur. “The Hashemite Kingdom has custody of the holy places in Jerusalem, and the Israeli occupation should not interfere.”
Hafez’s statement was backed by member of the PLO Executive Committee, Hanan Ashrawi, who also stated Tuesday that the Israeli decision on installing cameras “is designed to strengthen military control of Israel, so that they can take action against more Palestinians. This agreement establishes the Israeli military superiority and violates the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that the cameras, which were agreed upon in a surprise deal Saturday night, “are in Israel’s interests.”
Despite this, the decision has drawn intensive criticism both over the decision to continue the status quo and suspicion that Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA) would exploit the cameras for their own interests – a suspicion the Jordanian and PA officials apparently share vis-a-vis Israel.
The Prime Minister’s Office, meanwhile, has continued to deny claims that Israel is circumventing the deal for its own sake.
“Final arrangements for the manner and location of the cameras on the Temple Mount, which was agreed upon between Israel, Jordan and the United States, were supposed to be coordinated at the professional level,” Netanyahu stated Monday night.
“The cameras will be installed according to the results of arrangements to be determined between the parties. Israel has already expressed its consent to start the process as soon as possible.”