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Jordan-Israel Rift Grows with Lifting of Ban on Israeli Lawmakers’ Visits to Temple Mount

The swift downturn in relations between Israel and Jordan ratcheted-up another notch with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to lift the ban he had placed on Israeli lawmakers visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa compound on the Temple Mount, known as Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, is under the custody of Jordan by request of Israel. But Jordanian officials are calling the lifting of the lawmaker ban “irresponsible” because tensions have not fully subsided after weeks of rioting and disruption there. Following an incident in which two Israeli Palestinians shot and killed two policemen on the Mount and rioting ensued when the Israeli police installed metal detectors, Muslims refused to enter the al-Aqsa area itself and assembled thousands to pray outside. Riots became frequent and widespread until the Israelis backtracked and took down the detectors. Muslims demand that no non-Muslims be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount and prefer that no non-Muslims ascend the Temple Mount at all.