Jordan condemns Israel 'escalation' in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa

AFP , Monday 17 Mar 2014

Jordan Monday condemned what it called Israeli 'escalation' in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, after a far-right Israeli minister visited the plaza, warning it could cause further violence at the site.

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, deputy leader of the hardline national religious Jewish Home party, briefly visited the plaza in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday.

After the visit, clashes broke out between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and Israeli police at the site, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

"Jordan rejects Israeli escalation in Al-Aqsa as well as measures that allow radicals to violate Al-Aqsa under protection of police and occupation forces," Minister of Information Mohammad Momani said in a statement carried by state-run Petra news agency on Monday.

"These actions will lead to more violence and religious extremism in the region. Jordan warns Israel not to try to impose anything new related to Al-Aqsa."

Known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa compound, the site is considered sacred to both faiths.

By law, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site and although non-Muslim visitors are permitted, such high-profile visits by rightwing government figures are very rare and tend to stoke tensions.

Under the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, the kingdom is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Last month, Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur warned Amman might review the peace deal after Israeli MPs debated allowing Jewish prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque compound. 

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