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Jordan crown prince said to cancel Temple Mount visit over security spat

Hussein bin Abdullah was on his way to border crossing for trip coordinated with Israel, but turned back when entry was denied to his security guards

Jordan's Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah addresses the United Nations General Assembly, at the United Nations headquarters, September 21, 2017. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Jordan's Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah addresses the United Nations General Assembly, at the United Nations headquarters, September 21, 2017. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah abruptly canceled a planned visit to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday over a disagreement with Israeli authorities about his security detail, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Hussein was on his way to the Allenby border crossing, but turned back when his protection force was denied entry into Israel.

The visit had been coordinated with Israeli authorities and a large police presence was deployed to secure the prince’s visit.

As part of the agreement for the trip, Jordanian security guards, including some who were to be armed, were permitted to accompany the prince, according to the Kan report.

However, the security delegation that arrived at the border was both larger and more heavily armed than had been agreed.

When Israeli authorities insisted that the Jordanians keep to the terms of the agreement, Hussein canceled the visit.

Muslim worshipers visit the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 31, 2020. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Kan reported that the incident was likely to cause diplomatic tensions between the two countries. Though Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994 the two countries have at times had a strained relationship, in particular regarding the Temple Mount.

The Waqf, a Jordanian-appointed council, oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. It claims exclusive authority over the Temple Mount compound and says it is not subject to Israeli jurisdiction. Tensions often escalate at the site.

The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism, as the site of the biblical Temples. It is the site of the third holiest shrine in Islam.

Israel captured the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s Old City in the 1967 Six Day War and extended sovereignty throughout Jerusalem. However, it allowed the Waqf to continue to maintain religious authority atop the mount, where Jews are allowed to visit, but not to pray.

Jordan’s role as custodian was enshrined by the landmark Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement in 1994.

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