Jordan Criticizes Israel Over Temple Mount Clashes

Israeli police run during clashes with Palestinians at the compound that houses al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 7, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad.

Jordan urged Israel on Sunday to stop what it described as “barbaric” attacks on worshippers at Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque and said it would step up international pressure.

Jordan, which has custodianship of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, said Israel should respect worshipers and international law safeguarding Arab rights. It was not clear precisely which laws Israel was allegedly violating.

Eastern Jerusalem tensions have spilled over into clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians around al Aqsa after rioters committed unprovoked attacks on Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount, prompting a police response.

“What the Israeli police and special forces are doing, from violations against the mosque to attacks on worshipers, is barbaric (behavior) that is rejected and condemned,” the Jordanian government said in a statement.

Frictions have mounted in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent days, with nightly clashes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah — a neighborhood where several Palestinian families face eviction from homes stolen from Jews during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the kingdom, which lost eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War, would do its utmost to protect rights of Palestinians against ownership claims by Jews.

“Israel as the occupying force carries responsibility for protecting rights of Palestinians in their homes,” Safadi said in comments on state media.

Jordan had earlier provided the Palestinians with land deeds in Sheikh Jarrah it says proves Israeli claims to the property were groundless. Israeli courts have disagreed and allowed the evictions to go forward.

“The eviction of Palestinians of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes is a war crime,” Safadi said, without providing evidence.

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