Saturday, July 29, 2017

Journalist Engages in Defining the Temple Mount Status Quo

From Spokesperson Heather Nauert's State Department Press Briefing on July 25, 2017 we learn that the US Administration was pressured about its response and possible involvement with the Temple Mount security issues last week.

Some excerpts of her replies to AP's Matt Lee's questioning:

QUESTION: Can you guys – we talked a little about this last week, although I was unable to pry an answer from you.  MS NAUERT: Oh, okay...
QUESTION: -- and that has to do with the metal detectors and their replacement.

QUESTION: So did you guys think that it was a – or do you think that it is a good idea for the Israelis to remove the metal detectors?  MS NAUERT: I think – and I’m going to repeat this again – anything that serves to de-escalate tensions and pave the road for the two sides to come together and have conversations not only about this, but also about the peace process moving forward, we would certainly support that. As you know, we support the maintenance of the status quo at that site and we welcome all sides and their commitment to the status quo.  QUESTION: Well, right. So the Israelis say that they’re going to take the metal detectors away but replace them with these --QUESTION: Cameras.  QUESTION: -- high-tech, high-definition, high-resolution cameras. This is something that I spent hours with your predecessor, because the previous secretary of state got an agreement between the Jordanians and the Israelis for cameras similar to this that never were put in place because the Palestinians objected

Did anyone discuss their refusal to permit the cameras?  Was it criticized? And was it the Palestinian Authority or actually the Waqf?  Why didn't Jordan, who funds the Waqf, force the issue?

The questioning continues:

Do you think that this new arrangement with cameras is a step in the right direction and does it change the status quo?  MS NAUERT: I think that we would leave it to those parties to determine what works for them. Ultimately – and as it goes with the peace process, ultimately, it’s their decision to make. Both parties have to be able to live with it and be able to work with it. We are merely here as a supporter, a facilitator of peace, and that’s not going to change, but they have to be able to work together.  QUESTION: So this isn’t something that you would advocate? You would not – this administration would not say to the Jordanians, the Palestinians, and the Israelis, look, we think that these high-tech cameras are the way to go?  MS NAUERT: I’m not aware of that conversation taking place. What I do know is that tensions seem to be lessening a little bit. We’re pleased with that. It looks like it’s going in the right direction right now. Obviously, a very fragile region, so I don’t want to add to anything there that could potentially heighten concern. We’re happy that Mr. Greenblatt’s there, and let me just leave that at that. Okay?

If the US won't get involved in any easy minor issue like cameras to assure security, what about the really more important and critical issues?

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