A Border Police officer overlooks Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Palestinian Authority voiced skepticism on Sunday about the deal reached between Israel and Jordan regarding the Temple Mount, under the auspices of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups rejected the agreement, which calls for installing 24-hour surveillance cameras at the Temple Mount, holy to Muslims as the site of al-Aksa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock.
In statements issued from the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups called for escalating attacks on Israel, alleging that Kerry’s efforts were designed to “thwart the Intifada.”
Jordan welcomed Netanyahu’s assertion that the status quo on the Temple Mount would be preserved. Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh described Netanyahu’s remarks as a “step in the right direction.”
However, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki was dismissive of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statements that he is committed to preserving the status quo at the Temple Mount.
Malki told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that Netanyahu cannot be trusted because he has failed to fulfill previous promises he had made to Kerry and Jordan to allow unlimited access to Muslims at the Temple Mount.
“We don’t trust any pledges made by Netanyahu,” Malki said. He also criticized Kerry for describing Netanyahu’s latest pledges as historic. He said that such pledges should be made by the UN Security Council and should be binding on all parties, including Netanyahu.
Malki denounced the decision to install security cameras at the Temple Mount as “another trap.” He worried that the footage would be used by Israel to arrest Palestinians under the pretext of committing incitement.
Earlier, Malki’s office dismissed Netanyahu’s remarks regarding the right of Jews to the Temple Mount. It also rejected continued visits to the site by Jewish extremists.
Malki’s office said Kerry had previously fallen victim to what it called Netanyahu’s “lies and deception”.
“Netanyahu is seeking to change the status quo at al-Aksa Mosque, which has been in effect since 1967,” a statement from the office said.
It also criticized the Jordan-Israel deal for excluding any role for the Palestinians at the Temple Mount. “The Palestinians and their leadership must be a major part in any arrangements to ensure and defend the historic status of al-Aksa Mosque,” the statement said.
“Ignoring a Palestinian role will weaken the prospects of any agreement.”