Cameras at al-Aqsa Mosque

Recent escalation between the Palestinians and Israelis has made U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mediate and suggest the idea of installing surveillance cameras at al-Aqsa compound for the purpose of ending clashes.

The cameras, however, will certainly not resolve the source of the tensions, which is Israel's occupation of eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank since the 1967 war. These cameras will not solve the problem; the mosque and its surroundings will continue to be an on-and-off battlefield as long as the occupation continues.

At least 50 Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed during the violence seen in the past month, known as the “revolution of knives,” which Jews had prompted by entering al-Aqsa Mosque. Clashes erupted amid Palestinian fears of Jewish groups increasing their visits to the compound, and the situation has been tense since then.

The installation of surveillance cameras has led some to openly object to the move, but the real threat is deeper than that. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's threat to revoke the residency of more than 100,000 Jerusalemites - if he dares do so - will be detrimental to the situation in the holy land.

Along with this, the recent international escalation of the situation may aim to eventually get rid of whatever is left of Palestinian Jerusalemites.

Targeting Palestinians

Israel is now targeting Palestinians after it succeeded in occupying West Bank areas in the past few decades by resorting to several excuses, such as categorizing certain lands as "security zones" or claiming residents had no ownership. Israeli authorities would also cut off water to Palestinians or turn a blind eye to Jewish settlers attacking them. This is in addition to building settlements and expanding on occupied territories.

The region’s civil wars and the spread of terrorism have allowed the Palestinian cause to become among the international community’s lesser concerns

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Unfortunately, the region’s civil wars and the spread of terrorism have allowed the Palestinian cause to become among the international community’s lesser concerns. Many major events have piled up against the interests of the Palestinians who are experiencing a crisis more marginalizing and deteriorating than ever. What has further worsened their situation has been divisions among their leaders, obstructing all peace initiative opportunities.

One of the rare positive aspects here may be Iran's probable exit from its struggle with the United States, thanks to the nuclear deal. The Iranian and Syrian regimes have long exploited the Palestinian cause to serve their interests. Tehran, for example, managed to achieve its aim when it signed the nuclear deal. The Iranian and Syrian exit from the "Palestinian game" may constitute an opportunity to restore the Palestinians’ rights to make decisions towards an independent state and comprehensive peace.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Oct. 28, 2015.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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