Jordan Slams Israel Over Temple Mount Riots
Jordan's government-controlled Petra news agency said Monday that government officials had called in the Israeli Ambassador to the country to protest the “Israeli provocations” on the Temple Mount Sunday. Israel closed the Mount to members of the Waqf after Arab youths rioted again Sunday, throwing rocks and stones at Israeli police.
The riots were a continuation of unrest that has been going on for several days at Judaism's holiest site. Five Arab youths were arrested late Saturday night, after they tried to scale the eastern wall of the Temple Mount compound and were found with tear gas in their possession. The teens were taken in for questioning. Last week, Arab rioters faced off against police, causing the closure of the Mount to Jewish visitors for nearly all of the Passover holiday.
In a conversation with Ambassador Daniel Nevo, Jordanian officials said that they considered Israel responsible for ensuring security on the Mount, and that closing the site to Muslims was a violation of the peace treaty between the two countries. Despite those comments, the Temple Mount was closed to Jews, not Muslims, as a result of the riots, prompting angry responses from Jewish Temple Mount groups.
In a statement, Jordan's Minister for or Media Affairs and Communications Mohammed Al-Momani on Monday said that Jordan, in cooperation with “the State of Palestine, will adopt the necessary measures to safeguard Islamic and Christian sites in the holy city of Jerusalem and defend Muslim worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque. Intensive efforts and consultations led by the Jordanian diplomacy are being conducted to emphasize the Kingdom's firm stance against Israeli violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, Jewish access to the Temple Mount is very limited - including a blanket ban on Jewish worship there - in what activists condemn as a capitulation to Muslim extremism. Israeli police, in an attempt to appease the Muslim Waqf which was left in charge of the compound after the 1967 Six Day War, ban Jews from praying or performing any other form of worship.
Police sometimes close the Mount to Jews altogether in response to Muslim riots - for days or weeks at a time - despite evidence that such violence is usually planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.