US reassures Jordan on Al-Aqsa stewardship
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday reaffirmed the "special role of Jordan in holy sites in Jerusalem" and emphasised Washington's commitment to the status quo arrangement at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound.
Blinken's remarks follow claims of Saudi-US collusion to take custodianship of Jerusalem's holy sites, including the Haram al-Sharif compound, away from Jordan.
The site, which is considered Islam's third holiest, has been under Jordan's stewardship since 1924.
Earlier this month, the UN is urged Israel to remember the “status quo” following an escalation of violence by Israel at the Al-Aqsa compound.
"Deeply concerned by the heightened tensions & violence in & around #Jerusalem. I call on all to act responsibly & maintain calm. All must respect the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City in the interest of peace & stability. Political & religious leaders must act now," UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said on Twitter at the time.
Under the “status quo” agreement involving Jordan, Jewish prayer is prevented in the compound.
Israel arrested at least 250 Palestinian citizens in the last two dayshttps://t.co/G2PN0lo2Qn— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) May 27, 2021
Since Sunday, Jewish extremists have staged a series of marches into the Al Aqsa Mosque compound under the protection of Israeli police.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has warned that repeated Israeli settler incursions into the compound risk undermining efforts to maintain the current ceasefire and revive the peace process between Palestinians and Israel.
Last month, as tens of thousands of Muslims converged on the mosque compound during the last days of Ramadan, Israeli police fired rubber-coated bullets at worshippers and launched stun grenades into the mosque.
An end to the raids by police and far-right Israeli groups were one of Hamas' key demands in Egyptian-mediated talks with Israel, sources close to the ceasefire talks told The New Arab's Arabic-language service earlier this month.