Dispute Erupts Over Al-Aqsa Security Cameras

Dispute Erupts Over Al-Aqsa Security CamerasDispute Erupts Over Al-Aqsa Security Cameras

Muslim religious officials in occupied East Beit-ul-Moqaddas say Israeli police have blocked them from installing security cameras at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, despite a new agreement to place the surveillance equipment there.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced over the weekend a deal between Israel and Jordan, which administers the site, to install security cameras at the hilltop compound that has been at the center of weeks of unrest.

Azzam Khatib, director of Al-Waqf, the Islamic authority that oversees Muslim affairs at the site, said on Monday Israeli police prevented work crews from installing cameras at the entrance to the compound, Al Jazeera reported.

“They told our crews to stop the installation work and ordered us to remove everything we already had installed,” he said.

Khatib said he was instructed by officials at the Royal Court in Jordan to go ahead with the installation of security cameras.

Israel claimed that Al-Waqf had acted prematurely in putting up the cameras.

Israeli government spokesman Ofir Gendelman told Al Jazeera that he expected the Jordanians and the Israelis to meet “very soon” to discuss implementing the agreement made in Amman over the weekend.

Police spokesperson Luba Samri told The Times of Israel that “the issue is still being discussed at a diplomatic level”.

“Once a decision is made, it will be implemented with the approval and coordination of all relevant parties,” Samri said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said he welcomed the plan, saying the cameras would prove that Israel was not doing anything wrong at the site.

Hayel Dawoud, Jordan’s minister of religious affairs, said, “Israel is overstepping on the role of the Jordanian Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in managing the site] when it prevented Beit-ul-Moqaddas’s Waqf officials from installing security cameras inside Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Al-Aqsa is under the Hashemite [Jordanian] custodianship while Israel has no right to intervene in the affairs of the Waqf and Al-Aqsa.”