Jordan warns Israel against status quo change to Jerusalem holy site
Jordan summoned Israel's ambassador on Sunday in protest over what it called “violations” at a Jerusalem holy site sacred to Muslim and Jewish people.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the country delivered a “decisive letter” to Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod, that included a call “to immediately cease all Israeli violations and all Israeli attempts to change the historical, legal status” at the site.
Last week, a day of riots at the Jerusalem holy site, which Muslims have referred to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews have referred to as the Temple Mount, left at least four Israeli police officers and several Muslim and Jewish people injured, in the worst bout of fighting there in months.
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Muslim worshippers clashed with Israeli police as hundreds of Israelis visited the site -- on a day in which Muslim and Jewish holidays coincided.
The diplomatic protest came days after Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan told a radio station that the country should work toward Jews being allowed to pray at the holy site. Erdan added the change should come through “political agreements and not by force,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Jordan's foreign ministry reportedly expressed “the kingdom's strong condemnation” over Erdan's statements.
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Jordan said the site was a “place of worship for Muslims only.” The hilltop shrine has been managed by an Islamic trust under Jordanian stewardship.
Jewish people have been allowed to visit the site but are banned from praying there.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted on Sunday, “Met #EU (European Union) ambassadors to stress urgency of effective Int’l (international) steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied #Jerusalem. These violations & others seeking to change status quo in Holy Sites violate Int’l law, deepen tensions.”
The site, which has long been a flashpoint at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been seen as the holiest for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
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The site is located in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.