Jerusalem's Old City and the Temple Mount.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Jordan has appointed 52 new employees and guards at its Jerusalem-based Wakf Department, Minister of State for Media Affairs Muhammad Momani announced.
Another 70 employees and guards will be appointed soon to the Wakf Department, which is in charge of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, he said on Wednesday.
The decision is seen in the context of Jordan’s efforts to boost its presence on the Temple Mount.
Momani warned of attempts to “change the status quo in the holy city.”
His remarks refer to rising tensions on the Temple Mount in wake of protests by Palestinians against visits to the site by Jewish groups and individuals.
Momani condemned Israel’s decision to sometimes close the gates leading to the Temple Mount to Muslim worshipers. He also condemned permission granted to “settlers and extremists to storm” the Temple Mount.
He stressed the importance of commitment to results of the trilateral meeting in 2014 between Jordan’s King Abdullah, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that called for preserving the status quo in Jerusalem and “respecting the Hashemite custodianship over holy sites in East Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian Authority did not comment on Jordan’s decision to appoint new guards and employees at the Wakf Department.
Over the past two decades, the Jordanians and the Palestinian Authority have been separately seeking to increase their presence at the Temple Mount.
In Ramallah, a spokesman for the PA refused to comment on the Jordanian decision. However, the spokesman condemned Israeli “aggression against our holy sites.”
The spokesman accused Israel of waging a “religious war” on Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque.