Al-Aqsa tensions: Jordan’s King meets Netanyahu

AMMAN (Agencies): Jordan’s King Abdullah on Tuesday held a meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the capital Amman, a statement by Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court said, amid heightened diplomatic tensions over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by an Israeli delegation as well as several Jordanian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi. Amman had summoned the Israeli ambassador after its envoy Ghassan Majali was stopped from entering the mosque on January 17.
Jordan’s ambassador’s visit to the mosque came after extreme right-wing Israeli Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir stormed the mosque compound – Islam’s third holiest site – drawing condemnation from the Muslim world. The Palestinians dubbed it “an unprecedented provocation”. The Jordan-run Jerusalem Waqf is the exclusive authority supervising holy sites in Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.
According to the statement, King Abdullah “stressed the importance of respecting the historical and legal status quo in Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif.” The status quo at the compound has been threatened with repeated attempts (many of them successful) to enter the esplanade by right-wing Jewish groups.
Jews are banned from praying at the site; however, some far-right Israelis have been demanding a change to the religious status quo and want to be permitted to pray at the Al-Aqsa compound. The site is also home to the iconic golden Dome of the Rock, which is revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary (al-Haram al-Sharif) and by Jews as the Temple Mount.
King Abdullah “stressed the need to maintain calm and cease all acts of violence, in order to pave the way for a political horizon for the peace process, calling for an end to any measures that could undermine peace prospects”, the statement continued. The king reaffirmed Jordan’s support of a two-state solution, which guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967 border lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.