Hundreds of Jordanians, enraged over Israel’s closure of the Temple Mount following a deadly terror attack, slam “Jewish extremists.”
Hundreds of Jordanians, led by the Islamic Movement in that country, demonstrated and held vigils on Saturday against what they termed Israel’s “crime” of closing the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount the previous day. After an emergency security briefing in Jerusalem due to a terror attack early Friday morning, in which three Israeli Arabs emerged from the holy site and murdered two Israeli policemen, the decision was made to close the site.
The Temple Mount, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is administered by the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust). According to the status quo, only Muslims are admitted to the site on Fridays, where traditional Muslim prayers are held at the mosque.
The main demonstration started out in the center of Amman, the Jordan Times reported on Saturday. Hamzah Mansour, former leader of the Islamic Action Front, stated that “the enemy [Israel] would not have dared to do this if some Arab leaders did not call the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and stated that Jews have ‘a permanent right in Palestine.’”
He claimed that the holy sites would never have been violated if certain Arab leaders did not consider Tel Aviv as their “gateway” to the White House.
Joining the Jordanian voices of condemnation, Jordan’s Minister of Islamic Affairs Wael Arabiyat on Saturday warned of Israel’s “unprecedented and persisted violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque sanctity under the pretext of containing violence and tension.”
Arabiyat said he held Israeli authorities responsible for what he called “the mounting tension and violence in the holy compound because of the violations committed by the occupation authorities and Jewish extremists against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Israel’s closure of the mosque on Friday is “a dangerous and unprecedented act and constitutes an assault on freedom of worship,” he said. He further alleged that the move “runs contrary to the principles of religious coexistence and world and social peace” and consists of a “sheer breach of international law.”
In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening held a telephone consultation with the heads of Israel’s security establishment and decided to gradually open the Temple Mount to worshippers, visitors and tourists beginning Sunday afternoon.
It was further decided that the entrance gates to the Temple Mount will be equipped with metal detectors and that cameras will be installed outside the Mount – security measures which until now were not in place.
Linda Olmert, deputy director of Haliba Movement for Jewish Civil Rights on the Temple Mount, commented on the fact that there are 10 entrance gates to the Mount for Muslims as opposed to only one for non-Muslims.
At all 10 gates open to Muslims only, there is “no security check whatsoever, only a cursory glance to ensure that no non-Muslim attempts to sneak in,” said Olmert, who at times has visited the site several times a week. On an average day, she says, there is no lineup for the Muslims wishing to enter, while all others are forced to undergo extremely long waits.
Furthermore, at the gate for the non-Muslims, anybody who looks like a religious Jew is scrutinized and checked down to the last detail.
Lawmakers Demand Review of Status Quo
Jewish Home lawmaker Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli and Likud Knesset Member Yehuda Glick, who head the Knesset’s Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish Connection to the Temple Mount, issued a statement after the attack on Friday, saying, “The terror being perpetrated with the support of the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Movement, with aim of undermining Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, cannot go unanswered.
“Radical Muslims who desecrate the Temple Mount, the holiest place to the Jewish people, with their blood do not have a right to be there. Jerusalem Police Commander Yoram Halevy was therefore right to order the Mount closed and not to allow Muslims to hold Friday prayers there,” the statement concluded.
Culture Minister Miri Regev said the deadly attack demanded a review of the status quo on the Temple Mount.
“The time has come for the Temple Mount to be a place that is open and free for all, without restrictions on [visiting] hours or areas, just like everywhere else in Jerusalem. The Waqf should only manage the mosque and not the entire compound,” she said, noting that as the city was under Israel’s sovereignty, the responsibility for the holy site falls to the Israeli government.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News