Jordan Calls on Israel Not to Raze Mughrabi Bridge Near Temple Mount

Barak Ravid
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Barak Ravid

Jordan expects Israel to refrain from unilaterally demolishing the Mughrabi Bridge near the Temple Mount, Jordan's King Abdullah II told President Shimon Peres in Amman on Monday.

Peres traveled to the Jordanian capital in secret, as an emissary of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss Israel's plan to demolish the unstable bridge and build a new one in its place.

"Israel must refrain from any step that will damage the character of Jerusalem or sites that are sacred to Islam or Christianity," Abdullah said, according to Israeli officials. He also called on Israel to stop building in the settlements.

Last week Netanyahu ordered Israeli authorities to hold off on demolishing the Mughrabi Bridge, which leads from the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount, due to warnings from Egypt and Jordan of possible repercussions.

Israel says the new bridge is meant to replace the wooden structure built over a ramp that partially collapsed after a 2004 storm, classified as "dangerous" by the chief city engineer, but opponents say it is intended to provide more room in the women's section of the Western Wall plaza.

Under the Israeli-Jordanian peace accord, Jordan has a special status as supervisor of Jerusalem holy sites.

Peres and Abdullah also discussed peace talks with the Palestinians.

Peres put forth Netanyahu's proposal to "hold a direct Israeli-Palestinian meeting as soon as possible," the President's Residence said in a statement.