Tensions with Jordan have flared again after disturbances on Har HaBayis during Tisha B’Av when hundreds of Jews visited the site and Muslims there clashed with Israel police.
King Abdullah II of Jordan vowed to fight against “repeated violations and attacks carried out by Israel and extremist groups,” in an interview to the Jordanian Al-Dustour daily on Monday.
The king accused Israel of attempting to “violate the sanctity and compromise al-Aksa Mosque,” and added that, “our responsibility towards the Muslim holy places in Yerushalayim is our top priority in the international arena, and we use all means necessary to defend al-Aksa Mosque.”
Wael Arabiyat, Jordan’s Minister of Waqf and Islamic Affairs, the official custodian of the site, warned that continued Jewish agitation “will trigger a religious war.”
Arabiyat, who spoke shortly after Abdullah, said that 400 Israelis who visited the site created “a blatant challenge to the feelings of Muslims and a clear violation of international law and norms.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly assured Jordan that Israel has no designs on the site and is fully committed to maintaining the status quo. The Israeli government has imposed a ban on Knesset members from going to the site, in order to avoid antagonizing the Jordanians and Moslems in general. Jews are currently not permitted to pray there.
Gedolei Haposkim and Israel’s chief rabbis have said many times that halachah forbids Jews from entering the area for any reason.
While there was no official response to Abdullah’s remarks from the Israeli government, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter said that Israel will not relinquish its rights to Har HaBayis, and will not allow the site to be turned into another Mecca and Medina, for Muslims only.
“The idea that what was done in Saudi Arabia – where two cities holy to Islam, Mecca and Medina, are sites where only Muslims have the right to enter – will be done on Har HaBayis is a distorted idea that we will not let happen,” Dichter said. “We will respect the sanctity of al-Aksa Mosque, and will stand up for our rights…”
Updated Monday, August 15, 2016 at 4:08 pm