Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday night tweeted: “We call on Jordan, through the Waqf guards, to immediately remove from the Al-Aqsa Mosque these extremists who are planning to riot tomorrow during Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount and the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall.”
The ministry also said that “those who desecrate the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and barricade themselves inside it are a dangerous mob, radicalized and incited by Hamas and other terror organizations.”
But official Jordanian press sources reported after midnight on Sunday that Jordan had rejected the Israeli request. Another report suggested Jordan suspected Israel of looking to pin on the kingdom the responsibility for the riots.
On Saturday night, following the break-fast prayers, hundreds of Muslims closed the doors of Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and barricaded themselves inside. The police refrained from attempting to drag them out as had been done several times last week. One reason was a 15-second video clip showing police officers beating the barricaded Muslims – the video has gone Covid-viral on Arab social media and state media everywhere, resulting in the Hamas rocket volleys into Israel from South Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, as well as violent protests in Israeli Arab cities.
The Israeli request came in response to a previous tweet by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, in which “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs warned, today, of the catastrophic consequences of Israel’s continued violation of the historical and legal status quo in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque / Al-Qudsi Al-Sharif and its violations of the sanctity of the holy places and the right of Muslims to perform their rituals.”
The news outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Saturday evening that Jordanian officials continue to hold meetings with officials of the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem (the Waqf) which is affiliated with the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Endowments, in an attempt to prevent escalation in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Waqf “well-informed sources” said that a senior Jordanian official, Abdul Sattar Al-Qudah, a member of the Endowments and Holy Affairs Council in the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments, has been personally following the developments on the Temple Mount since last Thursday, one day after Israel Police clashed with the barricaded terrorists and arrested 500 of them.
As we noted above, Israel Police are concerned about Muslims’ attempts to attack Jewish groups visiting the Temple Mount on Sunday, as well as the Priestly Blessing that takes place by the Kotel. But National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir expressed his opposition to the recommendation of senior police officers, led by Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, to close the Temple Mount to Jews.