Jordan drops Temple Mount video surveillance plan

Julie Wiener

Israeli police block Palestinian worshippers and protesters in the Old City of Jerusalem, during riots in and around the Al Aqsa Mosque compound on September 13, 2015. (Flash90)

Israeli police block Palestinian worshippers and protesters in the Old City of Jerusalem during riots in and around the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Sept. 13, 2015. (Flash90)

(JTA) — Responding to Palestinian objections, Jordan announced Monday that it will not install surveillance cameras on the Temple Mount.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abudullah Ensour said his country was abandoning the plan, which had been part of a deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last fall to defuse tensions at the Jerusalem compound, The Associated Press reported.

“We were surprised since we announced our intention to carry out the project by the reactions of some of our brothers in Palestine who were skeptical about the project,” Ensour said. “We have found that this project is no longer enjoying a consensus and it might be controversial. Therefore we have decided to stop implementing it.”

The Palestinians have claimed that if surveillance cameras were placed inside the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, Israel would use them to spy. Israel has accused Palestinian protesters of using the mosque for cover while throwing stones and firecrackers at Israeli security forces.


The Temple Mount, which is holy to Jews and Muslims, is adjacent to the Western Wall and the one-time location of Judaism’s first and second temples. The site has witnessed numerous outbreaks of violence.

Rumors that Israel planned to change the status quo that allows only Muslims to pray there sparked the wave of Palestinian violence that began in October. Israel has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to the status quo; however, a growing number of Israeli Jews who advocate for greater Jewish access to the site have visited the Temple Mount in recent years.

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