Jordan summons Israeli envoy over Jerusalem violence

Jordan summons Israeli envoy over Jerusalem violence

Jordan on Monday summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to object to “provocative Israeli violations” at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, the foreign ministry said.

Violence at and near the Al-Aqsa compound has since early Friday wounded more than 170 people, mostly Palestinians, almost a year after similar tensions sparked an 11-day conflict between Israel and militant groups in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

Jordan serves as custodian of holy places in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move not recognized by most of the international community.

The foreign ministry “summoned the charge d’affaires of the Israeli embassy in Amman… to deliver a message of protest over illegitimate and provocative Israeli violations at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”, it said in a statement.

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“The charge d’affaires was informed of a message of protest to be delivered immediately to his government, including calls for an immediate stop to Israeli violations and attempts targeting a change of the historic and legal situation” at Al-Aqsa, the ministry added.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi had earlier told parliament that Israel’s ambassador had been summoned but was not present in Amman, adding that the charge d’affaires would be summoned instead.

Safadi said that “as the occupying power, Israel bears responsibility for all” the events at Al-Aqsa — also known as the Temple Mount and considered the holiest place in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.

The top diplomat added that he would meet European counterparts in Amman “to deliver the same message”.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II had on Sunday called on Israel to “stop all illegal and provocative measures” that drive “further aggravation”.

On Monday, he made phone calls to several Arab leaders and European Council president Charles Michel, during which he confirmed “the need to intensify regional and international efforts to stop the Israeli escalation in Jerusalem”.

King Abdullah said the violence “undermines the chances of achieving peace and leads to further aggravation”, according to the state-owned channel Al-Mamlaka.

Jordan became the second Arab country after Egypt to establish ties with Israel after they signed a peace treaty in 1994.

More than 20 Palestinians and Israelis were wounded in incidents in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday, adding to a previous count of more than 150 wounded on Friday.

The clashes came at a sensitive time when the Jewish Passover festival coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which the faithful flock to the holy site.

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