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Jordan ‘salutes’ Palestinian rioters on Temple Mt., summons Israeli envoy for rebuke

Jordan’s prime minister on Monday lashed out at Israel over the ongoing clashes at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound between Israeli security forces and Muslim worshipers.

Addressing a session of the Jordanian parliament, Bisher al-Khasawneh hailed Palestinian rioters and used notably hostile language to condemn “Zionists” and what he called Israel’s “occupation government.”

“I salute every Palestinian and member of the Jordanian Waqf [the Muslim organization that oversees the holy site] who stands proud… and hurls stones at all those pro-Zionists who defile Al-Aqsa with the protection of the Israeli occupation government,” said Khasawneh.

Earlier on Sunday, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli envoy in the kingdom to reprimand him over the entrance of over Israeli security forces into the Al-Aqsa compound on Sunday in order to allow Jewish visitors to visit the site.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi’s office said he would present deputy ambassador Sami Abu Janeb with a letter demanding that Israel stop all “violations” at the mosque immediately.

Safadi intends to agree to a meeting in the coming days attended by representatives of Arab League members Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia, and Algeria for an emergency discussion regarding the situation in Jerusalem and Israel’s “aggression.”

Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh addresses parliament in Amman on April 18, 2022 (Channel 12 screenshot)

Following the summoning of Abu Janeb, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday held a situational assessment at his office with diplomatic officials on possible actions to take in response, which were said to include “severe measures,” according to the Ynet news site.

Israeli political sources quoted in the report said that Safadi’s conduct only further raises tensions in Jerusalem, claiming it was “life-threatening.”

Israeli police officers during clashes outside the Al Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 17, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Instead of stoking tensions, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry is expected to calm things down and honor the sanctity of all holidays,” the sources said. “It is a pity that the Jordanians choose to look only at Israel and not condemn the conduct of the rioters.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Monday held a phone call with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on the ongoing clashes. On Twitter, Abdullah’s office said the two “stressed the need to cease all illegal and provocative Israeli measures in Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Sunday saw Palestinian rioters throw rocks at Israeli buses en route to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as in the Temple Mount compound, in an attempt to prevent non-Muslims from touring the site.

Police responded by entering the complex and dispersing the crowd with riot control measures.

According to the Red Crescent, 17 Palestinians were treated for injuries sustained sunday morning in clashes with police at the site, five of whom were taken to the hospital. Police said that nine Palestinians were arrested.

Police said officers worked to distance the Palestinians to allow the Temple Mount visits to go ahead, and Jewish visitors were later seen touring the site. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israeli forces have “free rein” to continue operations to maintain security while stressing that officials were working to restore calm.

Jordan’s Abdullah condemned Israel for the clashes, slamming the state for allowing Jewish pilgrims to enter the site and calling on the Israeli government to respect “the historical and legal status quo” there, according to a statement from the Royal Hashemite Court.

“His Majesty King Abdullah II directs the government to continue regional and international efforts to stop Israeli escalation and lobby for an international position that exerts pressure on Israel,” the statement said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) welcomes King Abdullah II of Jordan (L) accompanied by Crown Prince Hussein (C), ahead of a meeting in Ramallah in the West Bank, on March 28, 2022. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said that “the Israel Police has no right to arrange visits of non-Muslims to the Temple Mount,” asserting that only the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf has the authority to arrange such visits.

“Israel’s measures to change the status quo on the Mount are a dangerous escalation. Israel bears full responsibility for the consequences of the current escalation that is thwarting efforts invested to bring about calm,” the statement added.

Jordan has long maintained that its treaties with Israel grant it custody over Jerusalem’s Christian and Muslim holy sites; While Israel has never accepted this claim, it grants day-to-day administration of the Temple Mount to the Jordan-funded Waqf.

The recent clashes were also addressed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said in a tweet that his country “will always stay by the Palestinians’ side,” and by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who asked the US to intervene in the matter.

Many Jews head to the Western Wall and the Old City during the week of Passover, which began Friday night. Non-Muslims can only visit the Temple Mount during certain hours and are officially barred from praying at the site, which is considered the holiest in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam.

However, recent reports have shown that police sometimes turn a blind eye to such prayers taking place.

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