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Jordan runs low on diplomatic options in east Jerusalem crisis

Jordan and Israel are on a collision course once again and Jerusalem remains at the heart of the crisis.
A photo montage of Jordan's King Abdullah (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shaking hands in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is seen on a building during a welcome ceremony of the Jordanian king in Ramallah, West Bank, Aug. 7, 2017.

Jordan is intensifying diplomatic efforts to restore calm in occupied East Jerusalem as it finds itself once more on a collision course with Israel, in particular over the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Haram al-Sharif, or what Israelis call Temple Mount). On May 10, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi met with his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, at the State Department discussing the serious conditions in the city of Jerusalem and the efforts aimed at stopping the escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to local media quoting Jordan’s Foreign Ministry. Safadi reiterated that “Jerusalem was a red line” for Jordan, and that the focus now is on stopping the escalation. For that to happen, all illegal and provocative Israeli practices against Palestinian citizens of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the violations at Al-Aqsa must stop.

Jordan found itself at the center of Israeli-provoked crises in East Jerusalem that were triggered at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The first began when Israeli authorities provoked Palestinians at the Old City’s Damascus Gate, when they set up barricades to prevent Arab residents from congregating at Al-Aqsa. This led to clashes that turned violent and lasted for two weeks before Israel removed the barricades. Then another crisis erupted when Israel allowed Jewish settlers to breach the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Jewish groups claim to have property rights and are demanding the eviction of at least four Palestinian families from their homes. 

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