Jordan king speaks on al-Aqsa mosque crisis
The al-Aqsa compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount
Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Wednesday said that Jordan has legal and diplomatic options at its disposal regarding Israel’s recent moves on the al-Aqsa mosque and surrounding compound in Jerusalem, the local daily Jordan Times reported.
“We are performing our duties towards Jerusalem in all possible ways and we will not be dissuaded from doing so by regional problems and crises,” said the king to an audience of senior officials and delegates from a Jordan Islamic body.
The al-Aqsa compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. Over the last few weeks, the site has seen repeated clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian youths.
Muslims fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, which allow Jews to visit but not pray to avoid provoking tensions. Netanyahu has said repeatedly he is committed to the status quo.
The monarch “highlighted several challenges and methods to deal with extremists, terrorism and radicals,” according to the daily. He also stressed the need for coordinated efforts against radicalism and to solve the issue of Syrian refugees who have sought refuge in Jordan.
According to the U.N., over 620,000 refugees who have fled the four-year-long conflict in Syria live in Jordan, making up around 10 percent of the population.
Meanwhile, Arab Israeli lawmakers vowed to defy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to bar parliament members from entering a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, pledging to visit it on Friday.
Netanyahu has issued the order against lawmakers and ministers in a bid to ease tensions after weeks of unrest. Arab lawmakers’ planned visit on Friday, when many Muslims attend weekly prayers there, will test enforcement of the ban.
“Neither Netanyahu nor the right will be able to stop us from entering our Al-Aqsa mosque,” Israeli Arab MP Ahmed Tibi said on Thursday, calling the ban “senseless and illegal.”