Judaism

Israeli police block installation of security cameras at religious site, officials say

Former Ambassador John Bolton discusses plan to defuse tensions that sparked violence between Israelis and Palestinians

 

Muslim religious officials in Jerusalem said Monday that Israeli police have blocked them from installing security cameras at the city's most sensitive religious site, despite a new agreement to place the surveillance equipment there.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced over the weekend an agreement between Israel and Jordan to install security cameras at the hilltop compound that has been at the center of weeks of unrest.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the plan, saying the cameras will prove that Israel is not doing anything wrong at the site.

But Azzam Khatib, director of the Islamic authority that oversees Muslim affairs at the site, said Monday that Israeli police prevented work crews from installing cameras at the entrance to the compound. Israeli police had no immediate comment.

The violence has been fueled by Palestinian allegations that Israel is trying to alter a delicate arrangement at the holy site -- a charge that Israel denies. The site is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and home to the biblical Jewish Temples. Today, it is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.

Also Monday, the Israeli army said its forces shot a Palestinian who tried to stab an Israeli soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron, near that holy site.

The army would not elaborate on the condition of the Palestinian. The soldier was unharmed.

Military officials also said a Palestinian stabbed and severely wounded an Israeli soldier near Hebron before being shot and killed.

There have been almost daily Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, against Israeli civilians and security forces in recent weeks. Ten Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, while 51 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 30 said by Israel to be attackers and the rest in clashes.

Earlier, an Israeli official said Netanyahu ordered a "review" of the status of certain Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem -- an effort that could affect the residency rights of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The official said Netanyahu recently called for the review of Jerusalem neighborhoods that lie outside of Israel's West Bank separation barrier. One-third of the city's Palestinians, up to 100,000 people, live outside the barrier.

The review comes at a time of deadly unrest between Israelis and Palestinians, much of it in east Jersualem. The Israeli official said these neighborhoods suffer from "lawlessness," and a "serious discussion" is needed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a closed meeting.

The vast majority of the city's Palestinians hold residency rights, but not citizenship. Stripping them of residency would affect their ability to work and travel inside Israel, and prevent them from access to health care and social services.

Any Israeli attempt to remove residency rights would likely generate an international uproar.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.