Jordan Ready To Talk to Israel About Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Compound
Jordan wants to talk to Israel about the status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Hashemite kingdom informed Washington that it is ready to hold discussions with Israel early next month at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Reuters reported. At the center of the talks will be Jordan’s demand that Israel respect the restrictions on non-Muslim worship at the site holy to both Muslims and Jews, often referred to as the status quo.
The aim of the talks, Reuters reported citing unnamed Jordanian officials and Western diplomats, “would be to identify steps that Israel could take to return conditions at the mosque to those of 22 years ago.” Amman reportedly also wants Israel to turn over complete control to the Waqf, Jordan’s religious authority that oversees the site, and allow it to manage visits by non-Muslims and to prevent them from worship at the site, something currently handled by Israeli security.
Clashes at the Al-Aqsa compound intensified in recent weeks as the religious holy days of Ramadan, Passover and Easter coincided, leading to thousands of pilgrims to Jerusalem. Israel beginning on Friday barred non-Muslims from the mount until the end of Ramadan, as it does each year.
Meanwhile, Axios reported on Wednesday that Israeli and Jordanian officials will meet next week to discuss efforts to reduce tension and prevent violence at the site, three unnamed Israeli and Western sources.
In addition, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met on Wednesday night in Amman with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the tension between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as “ways to defend Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian holy sites,” according to the PA.