The Palestinian Authority and Jordan will increase their joint efforts in the coming weeks to foil any attempt by the upcoming right-wing government in Israel to change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound/Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
The official told The Jerusalem Post that the PA is strongly opposed to any attempt to undermine or end the Jordanian royal family’s historic role in tending Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. Since 1967, the holy site has been under the administration of the Jordanian-controlled Islamic Waqf Department.
Palestinian and Jordanian officials sent a number of messages to the US administration and other international parties, including the European Union, warning against the policies of the upcoming Israeli coalition, especially regarding the possibility of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, the official said.
Palestinian and Jordanian officials are also expected to meet with Western leaders in the coming weeks to urge them to put pressure on Israel to refrain from any measures that could aggravate tensions and lead to more violence, the official revealed.
The Palestinians and Jordan are especially worried about alleged Israeli plans to divide the Temple Mount in time and space between Jewish and Muslim worshippers.
The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, also issued a warning during a meeting of senior Islamic figures in Jerusalem last weekend.
Hussein said the “whole world rejects any attempt by the occupation to change the religious and historic status” at the site. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line. It belongs to the Muslims alone,” he stressed.
PA warns, the upcoming Israeli government will be responsible for any deterioration
The PA, meanwhile, warned that the upcoming right-wing government in Israel will be responsible for any deterioration of the situation.
The warning came in response to the violence that erupted in Hebron on Saturday between Palestinians and Jewish worshippers who spent the weekend in the city for traditional events marking the early Torah reading of the biblical Abraham’s purchase of the Tomb of the Patriarchs to bury his wife, the matriarch Sarah.
The warning also came in response to statements made by Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu during a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition. Netanyahu said the Palestinians “don’t want peace with Israel; they don’t want a state next to Israel; they want a state instead of Israel.”
The PA said that the violence in Hebron and Netanyahu’s remarks were a sign of what awaits the region under the new right-wing government in Israel.
The PA is planning to step up its diplomatic offensive in the international arena to “explain the dangers” of the new Netanyahu-led coalition, Palestinian officials said over the weekend.
Referring to the Hebron clashes, PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh said that what happened in the city was “an indication of what the next stage will look like under an Israeli extremist right-wing government that includes [Otzma Yehudit head] Itamar Ben Gvir.”
“This right-wing government will be responsible for the deterioration of the situation and instability,” Abu Rudaineh said.
He warned against continued visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, describing the tours as a “storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Jewish extremists.”
The Jewish visitors, however, do not enter the al-Aqsa Mosque of the Dome of the Rock during the tours of the compound, which take place under police protection.
Abu Rudaineh also warned the upcoming government against any attempt to change the existing historical situation on the Temple Mount.
Such attempts, he cautioned, will lead to the explosion of the situation, “and this will be the responsibility of the Israeli government alone.”
Commenting on Netanyahu’s statements, the PA official accused the prime minister-designate of “distorting and turning the facts around.”
Netanyahu’s remarks, Abu Rudaineh said, “are an open attempt to deceive and mislead the world.” The remarks, he added, also “reveal the true intentions of Netanyahu to evade any political process that leads to ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”