2,265 Jews visit holy site during Sukkot holiday; Amman decries influx as ‘storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by settlers and Jewish extremists’
Jordan on Thursday condemned the influx of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount over the week-long festival of Sukkot, describing it as “the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by settlers and Jewish extremists,” and slamming “irresponsible” Israel for permitting them entry to the compound.
Likud MK Yehudah Glick, a former Temple Mount activist, tweeted on Thursday that 2,265 Jews visited the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, over the festival — a 40 percent increase over the 1,611 visitors the year before.
There were no reports of disturbances during any of the visits.
Jordan’s State Minister for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said allowing Jews to visit the site was “irresponsible” and “constitute acts of provocation of Muslims’ feelings,” Jordan’s Petra news agency reported.
He described the visits as “the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by settlers and Jewish extremists,” and urged Israel to put an end to such “provocative” acts.
“Such behaviors harm relations between the two countries and undermine efforts to ease tension and preserve the historical and legal status of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Haram Al Sharif,” he said, adding that allowing Jews to visit the site also undermines the possibility of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The Temple Mount houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque. It is revered by Jews as the location of the biblical Jewish temples and is considered Islam’s third holiest site.
Under the present arrangement, the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, remains under Jordan’s custodianship. Jews are allowed to visit the compound under the existing arrangements but are barred from religious worship or prayer, as they have been since Israel captured the Old City in the 1967 war.
In July the holy site became the focus of a major crisis between Israeli authorities, Palestinians, and Jordan over security measures taken at the entrances to the compound. Metal detectors and cameras had been installed following a deadly attack in which three Arab Israelis emerged from the site and shot dead two Israeli police officers using weapons that had been smuggled onto the Temple Mount. The upgraded security measures were all ultimately removed.