Jordan slams Israel’s ‘silencing’ of Jerusalem Muslim prayer call, welcomes UNESCO resolution
Jordan has condemned Israeli attempts to stop Muslim prayers being called from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
It comes after Israeli police on Tuesday evening - the first day of Ramadan - stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most sacred site in Islam, breaking locks and cutting speaker cable.
They were attempting to stop prayers being called from the mosque as Israelis observed Memorial Day, which commemorates the Israelis killed in previous conflicts.
In a statement, Jordanian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Daifallah Al-Fayez said that the Israeli action was "a provocation of the sentiments of Muslims and a violation of the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque", Anadolu news agency reported.
Israeli police also prevented Muslim worshippers from breaking their Ramadan fasts near the minarets and harassing employees of the Jordanian-run Jerusalem Religious Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs Department - known as the Islamic waqf - who refused to turn off the mosque's loudspeakers.
"The affairs of Al-Aqsa mosque are overseen by Jordan-run Jerusalem Endowment Department under international law," Fayez said.
He added that the Islamic waqf, overseen by Jordan, had "the sole authority" to supervise affairs at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Prior to 1967, the Palestinian eastern side of Jerusalem was under Jordanian control. Israel captured the whole of Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Shortly after the war, Israel illegally annexed the eastern side of the city, which Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state.
Israel is currently implementing policies designed to encourage Jewish settlement there and alter Jerusalem’s demographic balance, activists and rights groups say.
"This is the first time since 1967 that Israeli occupiers have sabotaged locks in order to enter the minarets and physically cut off the electricity to the loudspeakers," a source at the Islamic waqf told the Saudi newspaper Arab News.
"And they pursued waqf officials and staff who refused to carry out their demands."
UNESCO condemns Israeli activities
Jordan on Wednesday also welcomed a resolution by UNESCO stating that all Israeli activities aiming to change the character and legal status of the historic Old City of Jerusalem, which is in the eastern part of the city, are null and void.
Fayez said that the resolution was the result of diplomatic efforts undertaken by Jordan, the Palestinians, and other Arab and Islamic organizations within UNESCO.
Israel has carried out excavation work in the Old City, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, while Israeli settlers have moved into the area in violation of international law.
Israel has also recently been accused of "ethnic cleansing" in the Sheikh Jarrah area of east Jerusalem, by evicting Palestinian families from their homes and allowing Israeli settlers to take up residence there.