Jordanians protest Israel’s shutdown of al-Aqsa
Some 1,000 Jordanians have held a demonstration to vent their anger at Israel’s closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound to Muslim worshippers following a deadly gunfight at the holy site.
The protest took place in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on Saturday, with the participants holding Jordanian national flags and those belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
They also carried placards such as “I am Jordanian and al-Aqsa is my responsibility” and “You scared them, God is great.”
Three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting just outside the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) on Friday.
After the incident, Israeli police shut down the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds and canceled Muslim Friday prayers at the site for the first time since 1969.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani urged the reopening of the sacred site and advised Israel to “refrain from taking any step aimed at changing” the status quo of Jerusalem al-Quds or the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Amman rejects any violations of Muslims’ right in practicing their religious rituals at their holy places, he added.
Jordan’s Minister of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places Wael Arabiyat denounced al-Aqsa’s shutdown as “dangerous” and “unprecedented.”
Moreover, Jordanian lawmaker Kais Zayadin said in a social media post that the international community should impose a punishment on Israel as the regime has “executed unarmed Palestinian citizens, without a trial.”
Jordan Engineers Association also said in a statement sent to the Jordan Times that the al-Aqsa Mosque closure was a “terrorist act” that contradicted the international law and shows Tel Aviv’s “disrespect” for Muslims.
On Saturday night, Jordan’s King Abdullah II held a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to reopen al-Aqsa.
Following the phone call, Netanyahu said in a statement that the site would be open gradually to Muslim worshipers, tourists and visitors from Sunday noon.
“Metal detectors will be stationed at the entrance gates to Temple Mount and cameras covering activity on the mount will be installed outside it,” the statement read.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound’s closure sparked a wave of condemnations from Iran and Turkey to the Arab League.
The occupied territories have witnessed tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into al-Aqsa two years ago.
The Tel Aviv regime has been trying to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October 2015, when the tensions intensified.
Tel Aviv has come under fire for using violence against Palestinians and adopting a policy of shoot-to-kill.