Jordan's king welcomes 'status quo' announcement

Jordan’s King Abdullah II says Netanyahu statement on Temple Mount will help end violence.

Ben Ariel,

King Abdullah of Jordan
King Abdullah of Jordan

Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Sunday said he welcomed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statement regarding maintaining the “status quo” on the Temple Mount - so long as it is implemented.

"I followed up on the Israeli prime minister's remarks last night and his assurances to commit to the status quo arrangements, and not to change it. This commitment is a welcome matter, pending its implementation on the ground," King Abdullah said during a meeting with visiting Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, according to the official Jordanian news agency Petra.

He said that Netanyahu's statement would help end the violence and ease tension, expressing hope it will lead to speedily launching efforts needed to address core issues through negotiations.

On Saturday night, Netanyahu released a statement, in English, in which he stressed that Israel will continue the current practice whereby Muslims are permitted to pray on the Temple Mount whereas non-Muslims are only allowed to visit the compound, which is of significance to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

"We welcome increased coordination between the Israeli authorities and the Jordanian Waqf, including to ensure that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area, and all this in accordance with the respective responsibilities of the Israelis authorities and the Jordanian Waqf," Netanyahu said in the statement.

"We support the call for the immediate restoration of calm, and for all the appropriate steps to be taken to ensure that violence ceases, that provocative actions are avoided, and that the situation returns to normalcy in a way that promotes the prospects for peace," he continued.

The statement came hours after Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israel has agreed on steps to calm tensions over the Temple Mount, including 24-hour security cameras.

Kerry added that Netanyahu had agreed to "an excellent suggestion by King Abdullah to provide 24-hour video coverage of all sites" in the compound.

Arab rioters have been turning the Al-Aqsa Mosque into a terror den in recent weeks, but yet it is Israel which has been blamed for the violence, even though it acts in self-defense to protect the compound from the rioters.

The Temple Institute earlier on Sunday blasted the agreement regarding Jewish visits and prayer on the Temple Mount, which bolsters Jordan’s custodian rights on Israel’s holiest site via the Islamic Waqf authorities and reaffirms that Jews will not be allowed to pray there.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, the Institute's International Director, accused the government of essentially legitimizing the narrative of Muslim extremists, who claim that the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Mount is "threatened" by the mere presence of Jews.

"The Prime Minister has rewarded Islamic terrorism by empowering and institutionalizing the discrimination of Jews on the Temple Mount," Rabbi Richman stated.

"Instead of stating unequivocally that the recent violence and murder of innocent Jews has nothing to do with peaceful Jewish prayer, the Prime Minister has bolstered the false Islamist narrative by agreeing to place cameras monitoring Jewish visitors' lips on the Temple Mount and reaffirming that Jordan, and not Israel, is the sovereign ruler over the Temple Mount, the heart of our people."