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Jordan, Israel trade barbs as tension over Al-Aqsa continues

While Jordan and Israel are keen to preserve the peace treaty and maintain top intelligence and security coordination, the issue of Al-Aqsa Mosque remains a potential deal breaker.
Israeli border police officers stand guard as Palestinians pray at Lions' Gate, the entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, in protest over Israel's new security measures at the compound housing al-Aqsa mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RTX3C773

Anyone following Jordanian reaction to Israeli measures imposed at the Haram al-Sharif (which Israel calls The Temple Mount) in the Old City of Jerusalem following the deadly July 14 attack could be forgiven for thinking that Jordan and Israel were still at war. Israel closed the compound that includes Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, preventing prayer there after three Arab-Israelis opened fire on Israeli guards near a gate leading to the shrine. Two policemen were killed before the assailants were shot dead. It was the first time that Israeli authorities had closed the compound since 1969, triggering angry reactions on both sides of the Jordan River.

Jordan’s official reaction was swift. The same day, its communications minister and government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said that while Amman continues to condemn violence, it will not accept any violation of Muslims' rights to observe their religious rituals at their holy places. He urged Israel to "immediately" reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshippers and cautioned Israel against making any moves to change the existing situation at the site and in Jerusalem in general.

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