“Candid Camera” to the rescue

Published in The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom, October 30, 2015.

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It’s a short hop from international monitoring cameras to global cops in Jerusalem. Thus the Temple Mount camera scheme is a trap. You just know that the cameras will be exploited in one-sided fashion to indict and criminalize Israel, and to further internationalize the conflict – something that has been a long-standing Palestinian goal.

An Arab cartoon accuses Israeli troops of destroying the Dome of the Rock.
An Arab cartoon accuses Israeli troops of destroying the Dome of the Rock.

International monitoring cameras are reportedly going to be placed on the Temple Mount – by Israel, the Wakf, the Jordanians, and/or some combination thereof. Then, the White House, State Department, European Union, Arab League, United Nations, and Hamas and Iranian leadership can keep an eye on things in Jerusalem.

And peace will reign in the Middle East.

What’s more likely to happen is this: Palestinian radicals will continue to smuggle weaponry into the mosque and the Moslem shrine on the mount, and the “mourabitaat” will continue to violently accost Jewish visitors to the holy site. Yet rarely will the cameras capture such Palestinian provocations.

Somehow, mysteriously, the video feed will be looking in other directions, or unexplainably unavailable, or appear to be “inconclusive” when the Wakf is mischievous. And if questionable footage is produced, the Wakf will be “called upon to investigate possible violations of the status quo” – at the most.

On the other hand, the very first moment an Israeli mutters “bore pri ha-etz” (the blessing said before eating an apple) on the edge of Temple Mount, two dozen high resolution video cameras will magically zoom in on him.

The second a Jew seems to silently mumble “Shma Yisrael” (Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d is One) 100 meters from the Dome of the Rock, YouTube will explode with videos of the incendiary supplication.

The minute that a bearded man with a kipa bends over to tie his shoes in a manner that, Heaven forefend, appears like he is bowing in prayer, the world-peace-threatening provocation will be instantaneously transmitted directly into the UN Security Council chamber.

The Security Council will then hastily convene in emergency session, with three jumbo viewing screens set up around the room, to view the new evidence of Israeli war crimes on the Temple Mount; and to ardently denounce Israel’s aggressions.

You just know that this is going to happen!  You just know that the so-called “transparency” on the Temple Mount promised by these cameras will be one-sided. You just know that the Temple Mount cameras will be exploited as yet one more tool in the Palestinian campaign to indict and criminalize Israel.

It’s so certain that you can already now start popping the popcorn for UN Security Council movie nights showing horror flicks from Israeli-occupied Jerusalem.

In other words, the camera scheme is a trap for Israel. It’s a way for the “responsible” international community to monitor the “irresponsible” Israelis, just like sex offenders have to be monitored by parole officers. It’s another way of making the case that Israel can’t be trusted to manage Jerusalem and its “Holy Basin,” including the Temple Mount.

As our arrogant Big Brother John Kerry said last week, Israel “must demonstrate that it is keeping its status quo commitments in both word and deed.” If he could, Kerry would put an ankle bracelet on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the meantime, we have Kerry’s candid cameras to keep Israel in line.

While they’re at it, why stop at the Temple Mount? Why shouldn’t Kerry and Federica Mogherini have monitoring devices, with live feeds to Washington and Brussels, also placed in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, in the underground IDF situation room, in IAF control towers, at Jewish National Fund, World Zionist Organization and Yesha Council headquarters, in the offices of Beitar Jerusalem soccer club and Bnei Akiva youth movement, at Hummus Abu Hassan in Jaffa, and at all other loci of potentially aggressive and dangerous Zionist-Israeli action?

Understand the absurdity of the situation: Kerry trusts the Iranians to monitor themselves, as per the recent JPOA on nuclear matters, but doesn’t trust Israel to keep an open and steady hand at the helm of Jerusalem.

The placement of multi-national cameras on the Temple Mount constitutes a significant Palestinian victory. It is an advance in their long-standing effort to internationalize the conflict, and to internationalize or Arabize the city. (Is there a difference?)

A natural extension of the camera caper is Mahmoud Abbas’ call this week for “international protection” for the Palestinians; a call for the intervention of foreign forces in the West Bank to shield the supposedly-endangered Palestinians. It’s a short hop from international cameras to global cops.

Cameras and cops both mean to say: Israel can’t be trusted; Israeli actions are the threat to peace; and the world must intervene to roll Israel back.

It is important to remind ourselves that there is a nefarious triple inversion, a compounded lie, at the root of this anti-Israel plot.

First is the lie that Israel endangers the Moslem holy sites in Jerusalem. On the contrary: No power in the city’s 3,000 year history has done more than modern-day Israel to protect and promote religious freedom. There is no better custodian for all holy sites than the Jewish government of Israel.

For comparison purposes, consider the killings and ruin that Islamic radicals are currently wreaking on Christian and Moslem populations and shrines across the Middle East, from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to Egypt and Gaza. Don’t forget the crushing of Christian institutions and communities in Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem. And what about the violent abuses committed by the Wakf on the Temple Mount?

Secondly, there is the lie that 15 year old Palestinian kids need global cops to protect them. They need no such guards, unless they are throwing firebombs at Israeli cars or attempting to stab Israeli 15 year olds. Instead, Palestinians need to be defended from the failures and radicalism of their own leaders. It is Palestinian terrorists who are attacking Israelis with knives, axes and guns, and Israel that is exercising maximal restraint in response.

Thirdly, there is the lie that Israel needs to be coerced into peace. Instead, it is Mahmoud Abbas who is the serial nay-sayer and drop-out from peace talks, not Netanyahu. It is Abbas that has rejected three Israeli and American comprehensive peace frameworks. It is the Palestinians who now refuse the resumption of direct and unconditional peace talks with Israel, preferring instead the path of violence, legal assault and global strangulation of Israel.

Abbas wants to cuff, criminalize and quash Israel, not come to reasonable terms with it.

Fortunately for Abbas, Big Brother will now have his camera eyes fixated on Israel, ready to capture alleged Israeli delinquencies, and broadcast the incriminating images to the kangaroo courts of the world.

David M. Weinberg is a think tank director, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »
A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker

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