(GATESTONE INSTITUTE)—Why is the Palestinian Authority (PA) opposed to Jordan's proposal to install surveillance cameras at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews?
This is the question that many in Jordan have been asking in light of the recent agreement between Israel and Jordan that was reached under the auspices of US Secretary of State John Kerry. The idea was first raised by Jordan's King Abdullah in a bid to ease tensions at the holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Shortly after Israel accepted the idea, the Palestinian Authority rushed to denounce it as a "new trap." PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki and other officials in Ramallah expressed concern that Israel would use the cameras to "arrest Palestinians under the pretext of incitement."
During the past two years, the Palestinian Authority and other parties, including Hamas and the Islamic Movement (Northern Branch) in Israel, have been waging a campaign of incitement against Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. The campaign claimed that Jews were planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In an attempt to prevent Jews from entering the approximately 37-acre site, the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Movement in Israel hired scores of Muslim men and women to harass the Jewish visitors and the police officers escorting them. The men are referred to as Murabitoun, while the women are called Murabitat (defenders or guardians of the faith).
These men and women have since been filmed shouting and trying to assault Jews and policemen at the Temple Mount. This type of video evidence is something that the Palestinian Authority is trying to avoid. The PA, together with the Islamic Movement, wants the men and women to continue harassing the Jews under the pretext of "defending" the Al-Aqsa Mosque from "destruction" and "contamination."
The installation of surveillance cameras at the site will expose the aggressive behavior of the Murabitoun and Murabitat...
The cameras are also likely to refute the claim that Jews are "violently invading" Al-Aqsa Mosque and holding prayers at the Temple Mount. The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement have long been describing the Jewish visits as a "provocative and violent incursion" into Al-Aqsa Mosque. But now the cameras will show that Jews do not enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the Palestinians have been claiming.
Another reason the Palestinians are opposed to King Abdullah's idea is their fear that the cameras would expose that Palestinians have been smuggling stones, firebombs and pipe bombs into Al-Aqsa Mosque for the past two years. These are scenes that the PA, Hamas and the Islamic Movement do not want the world to see...
Sources in Ramallah explained this week that the PA's opposition to cameras should also be seen in the context of the power struggle between the Palestinians and Jordan over control of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. The Jordanians have long been seeking to preserve their status as "custodians" of Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. This is a status that some Palestinians and the Islamic Movement in Israel have been trying to change during the past two decades, especially after the signing of the Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel in 1993....
- Police arrest Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher for incitement • Times of Israel
- The Temples of the Bible (Series) • BPB (Andy Woods)
- Israel adopts stiff penalties for Palestinian rock-throwers • FOX News
- Christian Activist Exposes Horrific Discrimination on Temple Mount • Temple Institute
- Acting police chief reiterates ban on MKs visiting Temple Mount • Israel Hayom