Jordan says following Al Aqsa violations with ‘great concern’

by Hani Hazaimeh | May 16, 2013 | THE JORDAN TIMES

AMMAN — The government on Wednesday said provocative and unilateral Israeli measures in East Jerusalem and specifically against Al Aqsa Mosque must stop, adding that it has several options it can consider in order to protect Islamic sites in the holy city.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani expressed the government’s concern over the escalation in Israeli violations in East Jerusalem, adding that the Foreign Ministry is following up on the situation in the holy city through Jordan’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

In a related development, the government condemned in a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, an Israeli decision to demolish supplements to two Jerusalem mosques.

The statement said that Israel’s plan to remove the expansions to Mohammad the Conqueror Mosque in Bab Al Amoud and Khalid Bin Al Waleed in Hai Al Tur is completely illegitimate because Israel is an occupation force that has no authority over waqf buildings in the city.

“Last week, acting Foreign Minister Hussein Majali summoned the Israeli ambassador and handed him a letter to give to his government that contained strong words of protest with regards to the developments at Al Aqsa and unacceptable Israeli behaviour,” Momani told The Jordan Times.

“The Israeli ambassador returned to Israel immediately after his meeting with Majali,” Momani said, adding that Jordan will not tolerate any more Israeli violations in East Jerusalem.

He added that the provocative unilateral measures that Israelis are taking in the holy city are “unconstructive and contradict international confidence in Israel’s commitment to regional peace and undermine international efforts that seek to revive the peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis”.

Jordan’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Walid Obeidat, has been instructed to keep this issue at the top of his agenda, Momani noted, adding that Obeidat is exerting intensive diplomatic efforts with Israeli officials so as to ensure that no more Israeli settlers enter Al Aqsa or prevent Muslim worshippers from practising their religion in the mosque.

On Wednesday, Obeidat held extensive talks with the Israeli foreign ministry, during which he called for the immediate halt of the entry of extremist Jews to the grounds of Al Haram Al Sharif, Petra reported.

The diplomat asked the Israeli government to bear its responsibility in preventing “systematic” attacks on holy sites in Jerusalem, which he said breach international resolutions and impede the peace process, according to Petra.

On March 31, His Majesty King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed an agreement that cemented the Monarch’s responsibility as a custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, and emphasised Jordan’s historic role as a defender of the holy city.

Also on Wednesday, scores of Jordanians held a protest in the west Amman neighbourhood of Rabia near the Israeli embassy to reject violations committed against Al Aqsa Mosque.

Scuffles were reported between police officers and protesters as security forces dispersed the demonstrators.


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