Prime Minister Naftali Bennett came out against those who incite against Israel and encourage terrorists, hours after Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh praised Palestinian attacks on Israelis in a speech to the parliament in Amman on Monday.
“Israel is doing everything so that everyone can always celebrate their holidays safely – Jews, Muslims and Christians,” Bennett said. “We expect everyone not to join the lies and certainly not to encourage violence against Jews.”
Bennett also spoke out against those who “blame Israel for the violence against us, those who encourage throwing rocks and violence against the citizens of the State of Israel.”
“This is unacceptable. That is a prize for the inciters, foremost of which is Hamas, which is trying to spark violence in Jerusalem,” Bennett stated.
Khasawneh said he “praises every Palestinian and Jordanian Islamic Wakf [religious trust] worker who stands tall like a turret and those who throw rocks at the pro-Zionists who are defiling al-Aqsa Mosque while under the security of the Israeli occupation government.”
He also repeated an unsupported theory advanced by the Palestinians that Israel plans to divide the Temple Mount like the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, into separate spaces and hours for Jews and Muslims. An Israeli senior diplomatic source confirmed that no changes to the current situation have been proposed.
Meanwhile, Jordan called an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers for Thursday, to discuss the situation.
A UN Security Council meeting on the clashes in Jerusalem is set to take place on Tuesday.
Jordanian King Abdullah II spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and European Council President Charles Michel on Monday about “the need to cease all illegal and provocative Israeli measures in al-Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif,” according to the royal Twitter account.
The day before, Abdullah told his government to work to “stop Israeli escalations,” and called on Israel to respect the “historical and legal status-quo at al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif and cease all illegal and provocative measures that violate it and could push toward further escalation.”
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s envoy for a reprimand over Israeli actions on the Temple Mount on Monday. The Israeli ambassador was out of the country, so Israeli Deputy Ambassador Sami Abu Janeb was called to the meeting, in which Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi gave him a letter demanding an “immediate stop to violations” on the Temple Mount.
The Foreign Ministry said the reprimand “harmed efforts to bring quiet in Jerusalem and gives a tailwind to those who hurt the holiness of the holidays and use violence that endangers the lives of Muslim and Jewish citizens alike.”
“We call on everyone to help Israel in its efforts to bring quiet in Jerusalem and allow freedom of worship on the Temple Mount,” the ministry stated. “Every responsible partner must recognize that and not take part in spreading total lies that only agitate the atmosphere.”
Israeli police behaved responsibly and with restraint when faced with dozens of rioters who violated the sanctity of the Mount, the statement continued, adding that it was police actions that allowed tens of thousands of Muslims to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque.
Last week, Palestinians stockpiled rocks and fireworks in al-Aqsa Mosque, launching them at police officers and at Jews praying at the Western Wall some 62 feet below the Temple Mount. Police entered the compound, making arrests and trying to quell the violence. The events occurred repeatedly in the ensuing days, and Palestinian attacks on Israelis in and around the Old City of Jerusalem increased.
Jordan’s royal family is the custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem Wakf Islamic religious trust that administers al-Aqsa Mosque is a Jordanian authority. When Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994, Israel committed to “respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.”
Jordan-Israel relations have deteriorated in the past when Palestinians and Arab-Israelis rioted at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held a special meeting following the sharp remarks from Jordan, which he views as one-sided, to consider Israel’s response.
“The Jordanians are making statements that are heating up the situation instead of calming it down,” a diplomatic source said.
Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar said, “The remarks by senior officials in Jordan are severe and unacceptable.
“Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, its capital, ensures freedom of worship for members of all religions in the city. The attempts by extremists and terrorists like Hamas to light a fire through an anti-Israel campaign are transparent and must be condemned and rejected,” Sa’ar stated.
A senior diplomatic source said that Israel had been aware of Hamas incitement over the Temple Mount in advance, warned Washington about it, and has not faced any US pressure or demands over its response.