Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, after which the leader of the Hashemite Kingdom issued harsh criticism against the “utterly condemnable” Israeli “provocations” at the Temple Mount.
“The King reiterated that Israel’s repeated aggressions, provocative actions in Jerusalem, and targeting of the holy sites, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Al Haram Sharif, were utterly condemnable, adding that the continuation of the settlement policy will undermine all efforts to revive the peace efforts,” a statement published by the official Petra News Agency said.
Following the meeting, Abbas thanked the king for his efforts to secure the site, holy to both Judaism and Islam, of which it holds custodianship.
“His Majesty the King, since the Jerusalem events erupted and prior to that, and to this day, is busy contacting all parties, including the Israeli side, to stop the Israeli attacks on Islamic and Christian holy sites, in addition to contacting all concerned regional and international parties,” Abbas said.
The meeting came ahead of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Amman visit to discuss the Jerusalem tensions.
Kerry, fresh from nuclear talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, is to spend two days in Jordan before traveling on to the United Arab Emirates on November 14, the State Department said in a statement late Tuesday.
Last week, heavy clashes raged at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City as Israeli police faced off with Palestinian stone-throwers, prompting Jordan to recall its ambassador in protest.
The US has issued repeated calls for calm in the region, with the State Department saying that all sides need to do more to ease tensions.
Under terms of the 1994 peace treaty, Jordan is recognized as custodian of the Muslim holy sites in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.
Jordanian officials had warned that the kingdom may reassess the peace treaty in the wake of what they called “unilateral Israeli violations.”
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Sunday that revoking the accord was not on the table right now, but called what is happening a “stab wound to the idea of peace” and charged that Israeli policies were aimed at changing the status quo.
Tensions over the Temple Mount have been simmering for the past several months, as Palestinian Muslims have protested over increased visits by Jews and calls by right-wing MKs to allow Jewish prayer at the site, where it has been forbidden since 1967.
Even as Israel’s top brass, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have pledged to preserve the status quo and criticized right-wing MKs who add “fuel to the fire” by visiting the Temple Mount, the Palestinian leadership has taken a hardened stance.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that Jewish “settlers and extremists” have no right to “contaminate” the site, which is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in the Muslim faith, and warned that Israel risked sparking a “religious war” worldwide if it changed the status quo.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.