King Abdullah II and Joe Biden
King Abdullah II and Joe BidenReuters

US President Joe Biden on Thursday underlined his support for the legal "status quo" of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in a meeting at the White House with Jordanian King Abdullah II, AFP reported.

Biden, the king and Crown Prince Hussein had a private lunch in which the US President "reaffirmed the close, enduring nature of the friendship between the United States and Jordan," the White House said.

Referring to tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Biden reaffirmed "the critical need to preserve the historic status quo", said the statement.

Biden also recognized Jordan's "crucial role as the custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem," the White House said, according to AFP.

On the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict, Biden reiterated the US position of "strong support for a two-state solution," also thanking King Abdullah "for his close partnership and the role he and Jordan play as a force for stability in the Middle East."

The Jordanian King’s visit to Washington came a week after he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Amman.

The two leaders discussed regional issues, especially strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan, which contributes to regional stability.

They also praised the long-standing friendship and partnership between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom.

According to a Jordanian press release, the King of Jordan stressed to Netanyahu that "the historical and legal status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque must be respected."

The Temple Mount was left in the hands of the Jordanian Waqf following Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967, a decision of then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. The Waqf has taken advantage of this and removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the most Jewish holy site.

Police, in an attempt to appease the Waqf, discriminate against Jews. They limit the number of Jewish worshippers allowed on the Temple Mount at one time in order to prevent conflict with Muslim worshippers.

They often close the Mount to Jews in response to Muslim riots – despite evidence that Muslim riots have been planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.

The meeting between King Abdullah and Netanyahu followed an incident in which the Jordanian Ambassador to Israel was detained at the entrance to the Temple Mount.

Ambassador Rasan Al-Majali attempted to enter the Temple Mount complex through the Lions' Gate but was delayed at the entrance. At first it was claimed that because of this he abandoned his attempt to gain entry as a sign of protest. It was later clarified that he was granted entry to the Temple Mount, and prayed in the mosque for approximately three hours.

According to a Jordanian TV channel, local security officials demanded that the ambassador present identification, and when he did not comply, they prevented him from entering. Israel denied these allegations. It was later reported that the Israeli ambassador to Jordan had been summoned for a conversation in Amman.

The Israel Police commented that "the director of the Jordanian Waqf, together with the Jordanian ambassador to Israel, arrived a short time ago at the Temple Mount, without any prior coordination with the police. A police officer who noticed them and did not recognize them or know of the expected visit informed his commander, waited to receive instructions, and prevented their entry for a very short time into the Temple Mount complex."

The police also said that "contrary to erroneous publications, the Ambassador's entry was not prevented. He was the one who decided at a certain point to leave the place on his own initiative, while the policeman was updating his commander and receiving appropriate instructions. If he had waited a few more seconds, he would have been permitted entry to the Temple Mount."

The police added that "a preliminary coordination procedure with the police as usual would have prevented any delay in the ambassador's entry to the Temple Mount, and we are sorry for false publications regarding this case."