Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Jordan condemns Israeli lawmakers' visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Israeli lawmakers' visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
Jordan on Tuesday condemned the visits to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem by two Israeli right-wing lawmakers, warning they could exacerbate tensions.

Under heavy security protection by Israeli police, Yehudah Glick, a member of the ruling Likud party, visited the compound in the morning, followed by Shuli Moalem-Refaeli from the ultra-nationalist party the Jewish Home.

Mohammad Momani, Jordanian state minister for media affairs, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to lift a ban on visits to the holy site by lawmakers is "an irresponsible move" that would exacerbate tensions at the holy site.

He demanded Israel take measures to stop the provocations by Jewish extremists against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine to Muslims, and maintain the two-year ban on visits to the site by Israeli lawmakers and ministers.

The Jordanian official also urged the international community, especially the United States, to make efforts to jump start the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to bring about peace based on the two-state solution.

The compound, known to Muslim as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, is located in East Jerusalem's Old City, which was seized by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed shortly afterwards.

The annexation has never been internationally recognized. The compound is under Jordanian control and administered by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian-Palestinian Islamic trust.

Netanyahu imposed the visit ban in October 2015, when he instructed the police to prevent Israeli lawmakers' presence at the site.

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