Jordan said to review ties with Israel after reports police entered mosque
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Jordan said to review ties with Israel after reports police entered mosque

Waqf claims Israeli police ventured furthest into al-Aqsa holy site since ’67 war; Kerry urges both sides to reduce tensions

Palestinians clean up debris inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on November 5, 2014 following clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli security forces. (photo credit:  AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI)
Palestinians clean up debris inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on November 5, 2014 following clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli security forces. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI)

Jordan warned Wednesday it will reevaluate its diplomatic ties with Israel, including its 20-year peace accord, in light of what it termed Israeli “violations” on the Temple Mount.

Government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani told Al-Jazeera that “all legal and diplomatic options are open in order to respond to the Israeli violations of the al-Aqsa mosque.”

Earlier in the day the Hashemite Kingdom recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and moved to file a UN complaint after police clashed with stone-throwing Palestinians at the holy site Wednesday morning.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Israel’s recent actions at the compound were “way beyond the limits.”

“These violations are infuriating the emotions and the sensitivity of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world,” he said Wednesday.

“Calm has to be restored. Israel has to respect the sanctity of the holy sites.”

The recall reportedly came after reports surfaced that Israeli police had entered the al-Aqsa Mosque on the compound and clashed with protesters inside the building.

The Waqf overseeing the Temple Mount claimed that Israeli police went deep into the mosque during its crackdown, all the way to the preacher’s pulpit — the furthest Israeli security forces have ventured since the 1967 Six Day War, Channel 2 reported.

The Waqf is the Jordanian organization that administers the Temple Mount compound, which is the holiest location for Jews and contains Islam’s third holiest site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Jordan has responsibility for managing the mosque compound and other holy sites in the eastern part of the city. Its status as custodian is enshrined in its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

Jordanian Foreign Minister and President of the United Nations Security Council Nasser Judeh, right, has a conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a Security Council meeting began at UN headquarters on Monday, January 20, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Craig Ruttle)
Jordanian Foreign Minister and President of the United Nations Security Council Nasser Judeh, right, has a conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a Security Council meeting began at UN headquarters on Monday, January 20, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Craig Ruttle)

Jordan’s Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs Hayil Abdelhafeez Dawoud said that the diplomatic relationship between Amman and Jerusalem “will suffer as a result that it [Israel] does not respect the agreement between the states which includes clauses on Jordan’s custody over the holy sites in Jerusalem,” according to Israeli news site Ynet.

The dispute over the site has spiraled into violence that has roiled Jerusalem for several weeks. Palestinian officials and others have vowed to fight purported Israeli plans to allow Jewish prayer on the Mount, though Israeli leaders have vowed to maintain the status quo there.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with Judeh in Paris on Wednesday, urged Jerusalem and Amman to resolve the tensions.

Kerry said reports of damage on the Temple Mount were “deeply disturbing.”

“Holy sites should not become the sites of tension, and concrete steps need to be taken now by all sides to de-escalate this situation,” Kerry said, according to a statement.

Jordan has initiated a complaint with the UN Security Council against “repeated attacks by Israel against Muslim holy sites,” the official Petra news agency reported Wednesday.

The Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement that it “regrets the Jordanian decision, which does not contribute to calming the atmosphere but the opposite.”

Following the shooting of Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to uphold the status quo at the holy site, under which Jews are forbidden from praying there. Netanyahu reiterated in the Knesset on Wednesday that claims Israel planned to change the status quo were “utterly false.”

A Kuwaiti news report said Monday that Netanyahu held a secret meeting in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss rising tensions over the Temple Mount.

The two leaders met Saturday to discuss resolving ongoing unrest in Jerusalem, which has seen waves of violence centered around the holy site, the Kuwaiti al-Jarida daily reported, citing unnamed senior Jordanian officials.

The report added that Netanyahu had agreed to temporarily close the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, to Jewish visits in the coming days, and to increase coordination with the Islamic Waqf on managing the site.

Netanyahu also agreed to change the way non-Muslims are allowed to visit the compound, according to the report.

King Abdullah II vowed on Sunday to oppose any Israeli attempt to change the status of Muslim or Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

Jordan’s Islamist opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, said it would organize a mass protest in Amman on Friday against the situation at the mosque.

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