Flyers were posted on the Temple Mount calling for Palestinians to smash the security cameras that will be installed to help calm tensions. In response, Jordan made an official statement that the cameras would not be used to film Muslims at the site.
The security cameras were a solution suggested in February by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the official custodian of the holy site, to US Secretary of State, John Kerry, as a method for coping with the growing violence.
Kerry met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, who initially agreed to the 24-hour security cameras. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also agreed to the arrangement in a separate meeting, though later discussions delayed the process. Netanyahu wanted cameras to be installed inside the Dome of the Rock and Aqsa Mosque, since security forces claim the buildings are being used to store firebombs, stones, and other weapons. Jordan did not agree to this condition.
Shortly after Netanyahu’s assent, the PA rejected the arrangement. PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and other PA officials claimed the security cameras would be used to, “arrest Palestinians under the pretext of incitement”.
It is believed that Palestinian objections are based on a power-struggle between the Islamic Movement and Jordan over control of the holy site. The cameras are monitored by Jordan, thereby reinforcing their role as guardian and undermining the PA claim to Jerusalem and all the holy sites it contains.
Jordanian’s Minister of Information announced two weeks ago that the cameras would be used to, “document Israeli trespasses”, and not to help Israel monitor Palestinian activity. The video will be live-streamed on the internet, though several issues are still disputed, delaying installation. It is still unclear whether the videos will be sent to Jordan, Israel, or a universally accessible site. It is also unclear whether Israel will be able to interrupt transmission. Locating cameras inside the two building is still disputed.
Installing the cameras is a technically simple and quick process but has been delayed by these unresolved disagreements. Though non-Muslims are forbidden from praying on the Temple Mount, Passover is a time when many Jews are expected to visit the holiest site to their religion. Officials fear this will lead to increased tensions with the Muslims at the site.