Netanyahu: Aqsa camera installation must be ‘coordinated’ with Israel

Israeli police stands guard at the entrance to Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem's Old City Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the installation of cameras at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound must be “coordinated” with the Jewish state.

The Islamic trust that administers the holy site protested earlier that it had been blocked by Israeli police when trying to install the cameras.

But the prime minister said in a statement that the agreed measure to curb Israeli-Palestinian tensions over Al-Aqsa was “intended to be coordinated.”

Meanwhile, an Islamic trust which administers Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound accused Israeli police Monday of blocking the installation of cameras there, a key measure agreed to defuse Israeli-Palestinian tensions over the holy site.

The Jordanian-run trust said a team was “working on the installation of cameras belonging to the Islamic Waqf... but the Israeli police interfered directly and stopped the work.”

“We severely condemn the Israeli interference into the working affairs of the Waqf, and we consider the matter evidence that Israel wants to install cameras that only serve its own interests, not cameras that show truth and justice,” it said in a statement.

Israeli police had no immediate comment.

The mosque compound is situated in east Jerusalem which was annexed from Jordan in 1967. While Amman has retained custodial rights over the holy sites, administered by the Jordanian Waqf, Israel controls access.

Considered the third holiest site in Islam, and revered by Jews as their holiest site, known as Temple Mount, the compound is a crucible of tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Clashes at the site broke out in September between Israeli police and Palestinians who accuse the Jewish state of seeking to change the rules governing the compound to allow Jews to pray there, which is currently not allowed.

A series of lone-wolf knife attacks and shootings by Palestinians has left eight Israelis dead and dozens wounded.

At least 54 Palestinians and one Israeli Arab have been killed while carrying out attacks or in violent clashes with police.

In the latest attack a Palestinian man stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli in the southern West Bank before being shot dead, the army said.

An intense diplomatic drive to ease tensions resulted in Jordan and Israel agreeing Saturday on the installation of surveillance cameras at the mosque, with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh saying technical teams from both sides would be meeting to work out the details.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that the cameras would be a “game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of the holy site.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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