No BBC News follow up on Temple Mount ‘tensions’ story

On October 24th BBC News told visitors to its website’s Middle East page that “Israel and Jordan strike deal on Jerusalem holy site“.Jordan TM report

“Israel and Jordan have agreed on moves aimed at reducing tensions surrounding a prominent holy site in Jerusalem, US Secretary of State John Kerry says.

Issues relating to the complex have been at the centre of fresh violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr Kerry was speaking after talks in Jordan, the formal custodian of what is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and as Haram al-Sharif to Muslims.

He said Israel had renewed a pledge to maintain existing rules there. […]

The steps he announced include round-the-clock video monitoring and Israel’s agreement to reaffirm Jordan’s historic role as custodian of the religious complex.”

Given that the BBC has over the past few weeks devoted considerable air time and column space to amplification of the assorted libels and conspiracy theories concerning Temple Mount – described in this article as “issues” – it is noticeable that there was no follow-up reporting from the corporation concerning Palestinian reactions to the agreements described by John Kerry.

““This is a despicable attempt by Netanyahu, with American collusion, to entrench the Zionist control of Al-Aqsa Mosque by granting the occupation the right to authorize and prohibit Muslims to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque,” read a Hamas statement issued on Saturday.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said that Kerry’s statement was merely a “pathetic” attempt to “beautify the Zionist Judaizing project and rescue Netanyahu from the crisis he is in as a result of his racist, extremist policy.””

The Palestinian Authority did not waste much time either in informing the public of its view of the initiative to reduce tensions.

“Less than 24 hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry lauded the idea of placing round-the-clock surveillance cameras on Temple Mount as a means of ensuring calm at the holy site, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Sunday called the idea “a trap.”

Speaking to Palestinian radio on Sunday, Maliki warned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assurances Saturday that Muslims would be allowed to pray on Temple Mount while non-Muslims would only be allowed to visit the site were not credible.”

The Jerusalem Post adds:

“Malki’s office said Kerry had previously fallen victim to what it called Netanyahu’s “lies and deception”.
“Netanyahu is seeking to change the status quo at al-Aksa Mosque, which has been in effect since 1967,” a statement from the office said.
It also criticized the Jordan-Israel deal for excluding any role for the Palestinians at the Temple Mount. “The Palestinians and their leadership must be a major part in any arrangements to ensure and defend the historic status of al-Aksa Mosque,” the statement said.”

Malki’s remarks drew criticism from several Jordanian sources.

The Jerusalem Post also reports that:

“The Jordanian controlled Wakf Department in Jerusalem held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the latest tensions at the Temple Mount. At the end of the meeting, the department issued a statement in which it emphasized that the Aksa Mosque and its entire compound, including the “Al-Buraq Wall” (Western Wall), belong only to Muslims. It also rejected Israeli ‘attempts” to apply Israeli sovereignty and laws to the holy site.”

Like the recent failed PA initiated attempt to have UNESCO declare the Western Wall part of the al Aqsa Mosque, the subsequent UNESCO resolution declaring Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs to be ‘Muslim sites’ and  the remarks negating Jewish history made by the PA-appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,  that Waqf statement has not received any BBC coverage.

Obviously the BBC does not consider such initiatives and statements relevant to audience understanding of “tensions” relating to holy sites.

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