AMMAN: Jordan has condemned what it described as “continuous Israeli violations” at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque after Israeli security personnel used a ladder to install loudspeakers on one of the mosque’s minarets.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Deifallah Fayez said the Israeli forces’ “absurd practices” at the UNESCO world heritage site are “irresponsible and constitute a provocation of the feelings of Muslims around the world.”
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam.
The ministry submitted an official protest after the work was carried out on Sunday despite objections by mosque authorities.
A ministry statement called on Israel “to stop its violations and provocations, and respect the authority of the Jerusalem Awqaf and Aqsa Affairs Department.”
Fayez said that Israeli measures are “a flagrant violation” of its commitments under international law.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is a “pure” Islamic holy site and the Jerusalem awqaf department is “the sole authority” tasked with supervising its affairs, he said.
Fayez urged the international community to exert pressure on Israel to halt its violations at the site.
Jordan also denounced Israel’s arrest of several staff of the Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Department, which is affiliated with Jordan.
Wasfi Kailani, executive director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa, told Arab News that the Israeli action violates a century-old agreement that prevents external intervention in Islam’s holy places.
Jordanian waqf officials based in Jerusalem are reluctant to talk with the Israelis and prefer any issue regarding the Al-Aqsa mosque to be handled on a diplomatic basis. Israel accepts that Jordan has a say in the running of the mosque.
In the wake of the arrests, Jordan’s Awqaf Minister Mohammad Khalileh condemned what is said were “attacks by the Israeli occupation forces on the staff of his ministry.”
“All those who work in the Jerusalem waqf department and the guards of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Awqad Council are employees of the Jordanian Ministry of Islamic Waqf,” he said.
Meanwhile, 250 Jerusalem business owners are expected to receive a $1,000 cash stipend earmarked to support Palestinian businesses, while others will receive $2,500 to help deal with the economic loss due to coronavirus, Hijazi Risheq, head of the Jerusalem Merchants Council, told Arab News.