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Jordan summons Israeli ambassador over Eid 'violations' at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque

Israeli police fired rubber bullets and sound grenades at protesters last week [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 August, 2019

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Israeli police fired sound grenades and rubber bullets at Palestinian protesters at the holy site last week, where Jewish worshippers were allowed to enter in contravention of a formal ban.
Jordan summoned Israel's ambassador on Sunday in protest against "violations" at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the foreign ministry said.

Clashes broke out between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli security forces last week, with police firing sound grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters on the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

The clashes intensified when Israeli authorities reversed a decision to bar Jewish visitors from the site on the day, which coincided with the Jewish Tisha B'av holiday. 

A week later, Jordan summoned envoy Amir Weissbroad to voice its "condemnation and rejection of Israeli violations" at the sensitive holy site.

Jordan administers the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The diplomatic protest came days after Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the country should work towards Jews being allowed to pray at the holy site.

"I think there is an injustice in the status quo that has existed since '67," Erdan told Israel's Radio 90

"This needs to be achieved by diplomatic agreements and not by force," he qualified.

As part of a post-war agreement Jerusalem's Muslim and Christian holy sites, including al-Aqsa Mosque, have remained under the administration of the Islamic endowment, known in Arabic as the Waqf, under what is known as the status quo agreement.

Jews are barred from praying at the compound under a longstanding arrangement between Israel and the Waqf. While Jews are permitted to visit, Jewish tradition also maintains that Jews should avoid entering the holy site.

However, the ban on Jewish worship is regularly condemned by some nationalists, including members of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhu's right-wing coalition.

Jordan's foreign ministry expressed "the kingdom's strong condemnation" over Erdan's comments, demanding "an immediate stop to Israel's violations and all its attempts to change the historic and legal status quo" at the site. 

The al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest place in Islam and a key Palestinian national symbol.

The Temple Mount is also the holiest spot in the world for Jews, who believe it was the site of two biblical-era Jewish temples.

It is located in occupied East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel in 1967.

Muslim worshippers began protesting on the first day of Eid al-Adha one week ago, fearing that Israeli authorities would allow Jewish worshippers to enter the site for Tisha B'av despite the formal ban.

After relative calm returned and following criticism from Israeli far-right politicians, police re-opened the site to Jewish visits, provoking further violence.

The Red Crescent reported 61 Palestinians injured, 15 of whom were taken to hospitals.

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