Egypt and Jordan warned Israel on Tuesday against escalating tensions at Jerusalem’s holiest site, accusing Israel of allowing “abuse” by Jewish visitors.
Small clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque – known to Jews as the Temple Mount – on Monday, with Jewish groups visiting the site on Mondays and Tuesdays during the Jewish New Year holiday.
In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it condemned “the repeated and escalating violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, committed by extremist Jewish elements in full view of the Israeli occupation forces.”
The statement added: “The Egyptian Foreign Ministry warned in its statement of the extreme danger of the continuation of provocative practices in the vicinity of the Islamic holy sites in the Al-Haram Al-Sharif, as they increase the state of tension, fuel violence, and put more obstacles in the way of efforts to resume the peace process.”
Jordan, which has the official custodianship of the Temple Mount and the holy sites, also condemned the behavior of Jewish groups and Israeli forces, describing them as “blatant and unacceptable violations of international law and the current legal and historical situation for Jerusalem and its sanctities.”
“The continuous violations and attacks on sanctities represent a dangerous trend that threatens to escalate further, with consequences for everyone,” it said.
A shaky status-quo
Since Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, the exact status quo has existed in the compound known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Under an agreement in force since 1967, only Muslims can pray at the site, although non-Muslims are allowed to visit during certain hours.
Jordan-appointed guards should be patrolling the site, not Israeli security, under the status quo understanding.
Israeli leaders and officials said they were “committed” to maintaining the status quo.
On Monday, Israeli security forces briefly clashed with Palestinians in the compound. Five were injured, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Israeli security officials warned of increased tension during the Jewish holiday period, as Hamas called on Palestinians to protest at Al-Aqsa and “defend Palestinian rights and holy sites.”