The Jordanian Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s Ambassador Amir Weissbrod on Sunday to be scolded for what it called “Israeli violations” and claims that Israel is attempting to alter the status quo at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, known to Muslims as Al-Haram al-Sharif, in English, the Noble Sanctuary.
Thousands of Muslim worshipers clashed last Sunday with Israeli police in an attempt to prevent the entry of Jewish visitors to the site during the Islamic holy days of Eid al-Adha. The Muslim festival overlapped with the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av, which marks the destruction of the two Jewish Holy Temples that existed on the site in ancient times.
The Islamic mosques on the Temple Mount are held under the supervision of the Jordanian Islamic Waqf Authority, as agreed to by the Israeli government since the 1967 Six Day War. Israel has respected and preserved the status quo, which prohibits Jewish and other non-Muslim prayer on the site, though it is sacred to both faiths.
Jordanian foreign ministry spokesperson Sufian Qudah said in a statement that it underlined its “condemnation and rejection of the Israeli violations” at the holy site, and called for an immediate end to “these provocative and absurd violations” which the Amman government claimed were “inflaming the conflict” and contended were a violation of international law.
Qudah added that his government also strongly rejected comments by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said Israel should work to change some of the arrangements in place at the site. “In the meeting, it was also affirmed that the Al-Aqsa Mosque / Noble Sanctuary . . . is a place for Muslims only to pray and worship,” the statement read.
“I think there is an injustice in the status quo that has existed since ‘ 67,” Erdan said in an interview with Israel’s Radio 90. “We need to work to change it so that in the future, Jews – with the help of God – can pray at the Temple Mount. This needs to be achieved by political, diplomatic agreements and not by force,” he emphasized.
In response, Jordan demanded “an immediate stop to Israel’s violations and all its attempts to change the historic and legal status quo.”
Erdan said a total of 1,729 Jews were allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av this year, a record high for a single day, although many were there for just a few moments before they were hustled out swiftly by Israeli security personnel.