Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Status Quo Violated by...Kerry's Cameras

“The placement of cameras in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is not only a violation of the status quo;..."

So, it's official:

Palestinian officials rejected a U.S.-backed plan to install surveillance cameras at a Jerusalem shrine 

Lowenstein is  the Acting Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and his State Dept. page is empty.  So symbolic.

More details.


In Jordan they are calling the cameras a 'trap' - "الفخ الجديد"،  And that

وتمارس إسرائيل الخداع حيال مصطلح "الوضع القائم" وتعتبر أنه يعني الحفاظ على الوضع الحالي وشرعنة اقتحامات المستوطنين، 

Israel is practicing deception about the term "status quo", that it means maintaining the status quo and legitimize the incursions of settlers,

And this

ن الكاميرات ستكون تحت مراقبة دائرة الأوقاف الإسلامية 

 The cameras will be under the control of the Islamic Waqf

And in addition to Ashrawi:

Many Palestinians, however, were not enthusiastic about the security camera idea, a move that Israeli police have sought for years. "It is an additional trap to arrest Palestinians on charges of incitement," Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki said.

And now, an update from the State Dept. Press Briefing:

QUESTION: The question is: Is the Secretary satisfied by the response to what he announced in Jordan and what the prime minister then later said in his statement?


QUESTION: So there has been more violence, however, since those events. At least two more Palestinians have been killed. At least one more Israeli citizen, I believe, has been killed. And so it hasn’t led to any immediate easing in the violence, one; and two, the Palestinians have – at least the Palestinian Authority has reacted quite negatively to the notion of 24/7 cameras, saying that they fear that the Israelis will simply use this to surveil their people and arrest those who they think may be troublemakers, whether they are or not. So why is he satisfied when the violence hasn’t been reduced quickly and when the Palestinians – at least, their foreign minister and Saeb Erekat – seem quite hostile to the idea of the cameras?

MR KIRBY: Well, that he’s satisfied with his comments should be self-evident, because he made them. That he’s satisfied with the prime minister’s comments – I think that’s beyond dispute. He welcomes the comments the prime minister made Saturday night as useful. But that he is – that he welcomes those comments or that he’s – and he’s satisfied by those statements doesn’t mean that he is satisfied by the potential for more violence and by the actual events of the last couple of days. I mean, he also said on Saturday – and I know you heard him say that the violence has to stop, that there’s no – there can be no excuse for the taking – the deliberate taking of innocent life – that it needs to stop. And so he remains concerned about reports that he continues to see about violence there and, as I said earlier, wants all sides to do what they can to try to bring it to an end.

So yes, satisfied by the productive discussions he had, by the statements that were given, but certainly not satisfied that we’re near the end of conflict here just in terms of Israel, West Bank, and especially Jerusalem.

QUESTION: How about the Palestinian response to – particularly to what he described as the excellent suggestion from Jordan’s King Abdullah for the video monitoring? I mean, I realize that Israel has overall control of the site. I realize that Jordan is the custodian of the site. But most of the people, I would imagine, who pray at the site are Palestinians. I mean, I’m sure there are non-Palestinian Muslims who go there, but most of them, one would imagine, are Palestinians. So presumably, they should have some kind of a voice here, and it doesn’t sound like the Palestinian Authority is – I mean, it’s clear that they are very hostile to this idea of cameras. So --

MR KIRBY: Well, I’ll let the Palestinian Authority speak for itself. I can tell you that, broadly speaking, the Secretary found his conversation with President Abbas to be helpful and to be constructive, and he was grateful for the opportunity to have that discussion. So I’ll let them – let those Palestinians who have a different view on the closed-circuit television camera coverage that we talked about – I’ll let them speak to that. But the Secretary continues to believe that it was a very helpful suggestion by King Abdullah and that it will help increase the prospect for transparency from all sides and for all sides to have this kind of footage available for the public to see 24 hours a day. That’s – that has the potential to be useful, I think, in terms of at least increasing the transparency about what’s going on and potentially, hopefully, having a persuasive effect on discouraging any more violence.

QUESTION: One last one from me on this, if I may. The Secretary had said that there would be technical discussions fairly soon between the Jordanian Waqf and Israeli authorities about the cameras. We are quoting an Israeli official today as saying that the idea would be that the footage would be available to the Israeli Government and to the Jordanian Government but says nothing about it being publicly available. So that’s one question: Is it publicly available or not?

The second question is: Is it just for the Israelis and the Jordanians? The – or might the Palestinians also be able to see it if it’s not available widely to the public?

And last – and I know you’re not a direct party to those talks, but you’re clearly deeply involved in the process – have the talks actually begun yet, the technical talks?

MR KIRBY: I don’t know. I’d have to refer you to Israeli and Jordanian authorities about whether their technical teams have started to discuss this or not. I truly don’t know. Our understanding coming away from the weekend’s meeting – discussions were that the technical teams would get together very soon. Again, I just don’t know if that’s happened or not.

It’s also our understanding, and the Secretary talked about this, that it would be – that this footage – this live, streaming footage – would be available to the public 24/7. That’s our expectation.


on a status quo violation:

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Wednesday, 28 October 2015), at the Knesset, made the following statement: "The Temple Mount has been quiet for two weeks. We are making every effort to maintain this quiet, but it would seem that someone is disturbed by this. MK Ghattas went up to the Temple Mount, went to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I assure you he did not do it in order to pray, he did it solely for the purpose of provocation, only to inflame the situation.  In accordance with my general directive, the police moved him away. I will not let any Knesset member or minister ignite the Temple Mount, and I call on all members of the Knesset and public figures in general to act responsibly, especially at this time."

It is getting quite complicated now:
Jordan's Islamic Affairs minister states that Israel will have no role in implementing the plan, and that the technical installation will take time.Oct. 28, 2015  Jordan's Islamic Affair Minister Hayel Abd Alhafeez Dawood said recently that the authority for installing cameras on the Temple Mount lies solely with the Islamic trust which serves as the site's custodian, and that Israeli authorities have no role in its implementation.In an interview with the Al-Dustour newspaper, the minister said that his office is in charge of setting up cameras on the holy site as part of an agreement reached between Israel and the Jordanian under the auspices of diplomatic efforts led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. He said it was a technical issue that cannot be completed within a day. According to him, the cameras will film the site 24 hours a day and the images will be broadcast live across the world, "like the broadcast the Saudis do" in Mecca and Medina.

From an Arabic source

A Jordanian source revealed that the "occupation forces removed on Wednesday, all the preparations that have been installed in order to set up cameras at the Al-Aqsa mosque yard."

The source, who requested anonymity, said "This step is contrary to what has been agreed upon understandings between Israel and Jordan on Saturday in the Jordanian capital Amman, through the intermediary of US Secretary of State John Kerry."

The source added that "the installation of cameras are the responsibility of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and just, pointing out that the understandings indicated that the monitoring of which are part of a committee representing both parties, in addition to the American side.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sorry to leave this message here. But trying to reach you.
Please contact me Sharon Shulman Sharon.shulman@qc.cuny.edu
Uri Shamir has died, we cannot locate any next of kin.
Do you have any information as name of sister, name of daughter etc.
Thank you