Fresh Israeli-Palestinian violence after new Al-Aqsa measures
Fresh violence flared between Israelis and Palestinians on Sunday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to install security cameras at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in a bid to defuse tensions.
Jerusalem: Fresh violence flared between Israelis and Palestinians on Sunday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to install security cameras at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in a bid to defuse tensions.
A Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli man in the West Bank and a Palestinian was shot several times by an Israeli settler while picking olives, according to the army and security sources.
Knife attacks, shootings and protests have become a near daily occurrence since October 1 in the latest surge of violence in the decades-old conflict, sparking a diplomatic scramble to defuse what many fear may become a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.
The focal point of the latest unrest is the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, and Netanyahu yesterday agreed on new measures to allay Palestinian fears that he plans to change longstanding rules governing the site.
Netanyahu vowed Jews would continue to be allowed to visit but not pray at the compound and agreed that 24-hour surveillance cameras could be installed.
"Israel has an interest in placing cameras on all parts of the Temple Mount," Netanyahu said in a statement Sunday, using the Jewish term for the compound in annexed east Jerusalem.
"Firstly, to refute the claim Israel is violating the status quo. Secondly, to show where the provocations are really coming from, and prevent them in advance."
However Saeb Erakat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the recognised representative of Palestinians, said Netanyahu's statements were "only words, not concrete actions."
"There will not be calm without political prospects to definitively end the occupation," said Nabil Shaath, an official from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's West Bank-based Fatah.
He said the status quo the Palestinians wanted was that before the second intifada broke out in 2000, when Israel did not decide who had access to the compound.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said after talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II -- whose country is the custodian of the site -- that security cameras would be a "game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of the holy site."
And Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said the cameras "will indeed make a difference and a very strong difference at that."