After Trump deal unveiled, Jordan warns of ‘new reality’ on Temple Mount
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After Trump deal unveiled, Jordan warns of ‘new reality’ on Temple Mount

Statement from Islamic Affairs Ministry in Amman does not directly mention US plan that calls for allowing members of all faiths to pray at the site

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Muslim worshipers shout slogans during Friday prayer in front of the Dome of the Rock near the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Jerusalem's Old City on December 8, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI/File)
Palestinian Muslim worshipers shout slogans during Friday prayer in front of the Dome of the Rock near the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Jerusalem's Old City on December 8, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI/File)

The Jordanian Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Ministry warned on Wednesday against a “new reality” being applied to the Temple Mount, a site revered by both Jews and Muslims.

The ministry said that it publicized the statement in light of Israeli authorities entering the central parts of the Temple Mount and taking action to halt its operations at the site. But it was notably issued less than a day after the US administration unveiled its plan to resolve to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Ministry cautions against the imposition of a ‘new reality’ at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the ministry, which largely manages the administration of the Temple Mount — known by Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or Al-Aqsa Mosque — said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

“Non-Muslims have no right in the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” it added.

The US plan calls for maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount, but it also appears to contradict itself in stating: “People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors.”

Palestinian Muslims shout at Jews at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019, during the overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays of Tisha B’Av and Eid al-Adha. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

“We have been very clear in comments all through yesterday that the status quo is preserved and Jordan’s special role in regards to Haram al-Sharif is reaffirmed,” a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in an email Wednesday.

The status quo, longstanding arrangements between Israel and Muslim authorities, allows Jews to visit the Temple Mount — under significant security restrictions at specific times during the week — but forbids them from praying there.

Israeli religious nationalists, however, have recently made efforts to pray at the Temple Mount and stepped up their visits to the site.

Palestinians and Jordanian authorities view such visits to the Temple Mount as provocations, and have expressed concerns that Israel intends to take over the site or partition it. The Israeli government, meanwhile, has repeatedly said it has no intention of changing the arrangements.

The ministry added that “according to His Majesty King Abdullah II’s instructions, [it] is continuing to defend the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Jordan is known as the custodian of the site, a role that was enshrined by the landmark Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement in 1994.

Abdullah recently described Jordanian-Israeli ties at being at an “all-time low.”

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