Jordan: Israel must reopen mosque

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected demands by Jordan Friday night to immediately reopen the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was closed following a terrorist attack Friday morning.

According to officials, Netanyahu said, “Instead of denouncing the terror attack, Jordan chose to attack Israel. It is appropriate that all parties involved, including Jordan, maintain restraint and refrain from flaming the atmosphere.”

Officials also noted that Israel “protects the worshipers and preserves freedom of worship in the area. Israel will not tolerate attacks on the holy places and it maintains the status quo in them.”

In a statement issued Friday afternoon by Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Al Momani, Jordan demanded that Israel immediately open the Al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers and not take steps that could change the historic status quo in Jerusalem and the mosque.

“The Jordanian government opposes any attack against Muslims in carrying out religious rituals in their holy places freely and without any obstacles,” wrote Al Momani.

Al Momni condemned the escalation on the Temple Mount and demanded an immediate and comprehensive investigation into the incident. He did however clarify that “Jordan’s principled position is condemnation of violence.”

Al Momani further claimed that Jordan exerted intense pressure to reopen the mosque immediately, noting, “Jordan will continue to take utilize all diplomatic, legal and political tools to block any attempt to change the legal and historical status quo in Jerusalem.”

Despite Netanyahu’s rejection of the Jordanian demand to reopen the mosque immediately, Netanyahu did indicate that the area would be “gradually reopened”to worshippers Sunday.


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