Ayman Safadi
Ayman SafadiREUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Ayman Safadi, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, on Tuesday downplayed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's statement that all decisions regarding the Temple Mount will be made by Israel’s leadership.

"Israel has no sovereignty over the holy places in Jerusalem, this is occupied Palestinian land. Israel is an occupying force that is blocking moves taken by the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments in order to maintain security and peace in Al-Aqsa," Safadi claimed in interviews with Jordanian media.

He accused Israel of preventing Waqf members from fulfilling their task. "Our message is one: Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, a sovereign state that must be established within the 1967 borders. This is the only way to achieve lasting peace."

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pushed back on reports that Israel has agreed to a Jordanian request expanding Muslim control over the Temple Mount.

In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Bennett denied that Israel had acceded to a Jordanian demand that Israel allow the Waqf – the Jordan-based Islamic trust which administers the Temple Mount – to assign an additional 50 personnel to the site.

"This is an event that took place about a month and a half ago. Indeed, about a month and a half ago, a Jordanian request was received to increase the Waqf presence on the Temple Mount by 50 guards but Israel did not find it appropriate to accede to the request,” Bennett said.

The Prime Minister added that the status quo on the Temple Mount remains intact, and emphasized that Israel will not permit foreign states to dictate policy on the holy site.

“In practice: Six Hamas-backed Waqf guards were removed from the Temple Mount, and 12 new Waqf positions were manned — all within the existing standards, without any increase.”

Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas has conditioned his support for the coalition on the government accepting Jordanian demands on the Temple Mount issue in discussions between the Israeli side and the Jordanian side.