EU diplomats visit Temple Mount, express support for Jordan custodianship

EU diplomats send message of Palestinian support and support of Jordan maintaining control over the Temple Mount.

Tourist visit at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, on January 3, 2023.  (photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)
Tourist visit at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, on January 3, 2023.
(photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

European Union diplomats who toured the al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) on Wednesday expressed support for the Jordanian custodianship over the holy site, Azzam al-Khatib, Director-General of the Jordanian-controlled Waqf Department in Jerusalem, said.

 “This was a successful visit,” Khatib told reporters. “We waited for this visit for a long time.”

 He said the European delegation came to the site carrying two messages.

 “The first message expressed support for His Majesty’s custodianship over the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, especially the al-Aqsa Mosque,” Khatib said. “The second message expressed support for the Waqf Department, which implements His Majesty’s custodianship over the Islamic sites, especially the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

“The first message expressed support for His Majesty’s custodianship over the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, especially the al-Aqsa Mosque,”

Azzam al-Khatib, Director-General of the Jordanian-controlled Waqf Department

 Khatib voiced deep appreciation for the EU’s support for the Palestinians and the two-state solution.

 ISRAELI POLICE stand by as Jews visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City last year. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS) ISRAELI POLICE stand by as Jews visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City last year. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

Jordanian ambassador incident with Israeli police

The visit by 35 diplomats came one day after Jordan complained that an Israeli policeman held up the Jordanian ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, at the entrance of the compound.

 The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday summoned the Israeli ambassador in Amman and handed him a strongly-worded protest letter “to be conveyed immediately to his government.”

The Israel Police described it as “fake news” reporting that the Jordanian ambassador was prevented from entering the Temple Mount.

 According to the police, the ambassador had attempted to visit the site without prior coordination and was not immediately recognized by officers, causing a brief delay while authorities looked into the matter.

 Majali subsequently left, but later returned to the site.

The European delegation was received by Khatib and several senior officials of the Waqf Department, including Omar Kiswani, Director of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Addressing the delegation on behalf of Jordan’s King Abdullah, Khatib welcomed the visit of the European diplomats and stressed the “exclusive and historical role of the Waqf Department in implementing the Hashemite custodianship over the site.

Khatib said he briefed the delegation on the Israeli “violations against the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Urging the EU to support King Abdullah’s role as custodian of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, Khatib urged the delegation “to pressure the Israeli government to stop all violations and return to the historical status quo” at the site.

A senior Waqf official said the visit by the EU delegation sends a “strong message” to the Israeli government against attempting to alter the status quo at the holy site.

The official pointed out that EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Sven Koopmans, recently emphasized that the status quo on the holy sites in Jerusalem and the custodianship by the Jordanian monarch are essential to regional peace and stability.