Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa MosqueFlash 90

Jordan on Friday blasted Israel after Israeli police closed the gates to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for several hours.

The move was necessitated when Palestinian Arab worshippers clashed with security forces following midday prayers at the site.

For around four hours all entry into and out of the mosque was prevented by Israeli officers, according to AFP.

The compound was reopened in the early evening, with worshippers flooding in to pray.

Police said the clashes were sparked after Friday midday prayers as "rioters started to throw fireworks directly at police."

"Police entered the Temple Mount compound and began evacuating the site. During dispersal of the rioters police arrested a number of suspects," a statement said.

Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat condemned “ongoing Israeli provocations at the mosque compound, including the storming of the site on Friday by Israeli police and their assault on Palestinian worshipers and employees of the Religious Endowments Authority.”

“Such reprehensible practices violate the sanctity of this holy place, provoke the feelings of Muslims around the world, and violate Israel's legal obligations as an occupying power in East Jerusalem,” she added in a statement quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

Ghneimat also described recent events at Al-Aqsa as “a violation of international conventions that stress the need to respect places of worship.”

The Temple Mount was left in the hands of the Jordanian Waqf following Jerusalem’s reunification in the Six Day War in 1967. 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.

Earlier this week, the Jordanian government lodged an official protest with Israel after more than 1,000 Jews visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to mark Tisha B’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the two Jewish temples which were located on the Temple Mount.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)