Tzipi Hotovely at the UN
Tzipi Hotovely at the UNShahar Azran, Israeli Embassy

During a donor nation conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) engaged Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in a sharp exchange over the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

At the conference, Hotovely criticized Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's call for violence last month, when he said "the Al-Aqsa (Mosque on the Mount - ed.) is ours...and they (Jews) have no right to defile it with their filthy feet," and went on to praise terrorist "martyrs" spilling blood in Jerusalem.

"As long as the Palestinians continue to warp the historical truth and negate the rights of Jews to go up to the holiest site to Judaism - there won't be any advancement in the relations between the sides," warned Hotovely, noting that the Temple Mount is the site of the First and Second Temples.

"Jerusalem," continued Hotovely, "is the united capital of Israel, and it will remain that way, and those who breach the status quo systematically with violence are the Arabs."

In response, the Jordanian foreign minister said in anger that the area of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is holy to Muslims, and repeated Abbas's statement that "IDF soldiers defile the site with their feet."

Hotovely broke into Judeh's invective, saying that he is "continuing to warp history and continuing the path of (Yasser) Arafat who negated the existence of the Temple on the Temple Mount."

Peace partners?

Under de facto Jordanian Waqf rule, the Mount has recently seen a new spate of violent Arab rioting.

Despite its 1994 peace treaty with Israel, Jordan has been following a confrontational policy on the Temple Mount, with Israel accusing it of fanning the flames of Arab violence on the Mount that is under its supervision.

Jordan last month threatened to recall its ambassador over Israeli law enforcement against Arab violence at the site - as it did from last November until February. It has also repeatedly threatened to revoke the peace treaty.

Relations have become openly sour, despite President Reuven Rivlin's rosy words at the Jordanian embassy in June on Jordanian Independence Day. Last November, the Jordanian parliament held a special prayer session for the two Arab terrorists who committed a heinous attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, murdering four Jews at prayer and reportedly beheading two of them, as well as murdering a police officer.

Jordan was established by British fiat in 1946, as a kingdom for Abdullah I of Saudi Arabia. It is made up of a majority of Palestinian Arabs, while nearly all Arab residents of Judea and Samaria hold Jordanian citizenship, leading many to suggest creating a "Palestine" in Jordan.

That call was given even more credence in June, when Abbas called Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs "one people living in two states."