Netanyahu Assures Jordan King Abdullah: Temple Mount Status Quo Won't Change

Netanyahu tells Abdullah during phone conversation that Jordan's special status in Jerusalem, as specified in the peace agreement between the two countries, will not change.

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The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City, November 5, 2014.
The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City, November 5, 2014.Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu undertook to ensure the maintenance of the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during a phone conversation with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Thursday.

The phone call was initiated by Netanyahu.

Jordan's King Abdullah speaks during the opening of the second ordinary session of the 17th parliament session in Amman, November 2, 2014.Credit: Reuters

A statement published by the Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu also undertook to preserve the special status of Jordan regarding the Temple Mount and the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, as specified in the peace agreement between the two countries.

"Both leaders called for the immediate cessation of violent actions and incitement," Netanyahu's bureau said.

During the conversation, King Abdullah told Netanyahu that Jordan stands in absolute opposition to any action that infringes on the holiness of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, endangers it, or presents a change in the status quo. The Jordanian news agency Petra reported that Netanyahu promised Abdullah he would move to decrease the tensions in Jerusalem.

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel on Wednesday in protest against what it described as "the increasing and unprecedented Israeli escalation in the Noble Sanctuary and the repeated Israeli violations of Jerusalem," the Jordanian state news agency reported.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judah said his country's recall of ambassador Walid Obeidat was "an indication of the seriousness of the situation... We have sent repeated messages to Israel... that Jerusalem is a red line."

Both Jordan and the Palestinians have urged the United Nations Security Council to demand that Israel immediately stop "violations" at Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, warning that further escalation could lead to another crisis threatening peace in the Middle East.

In a series of telephone conversations, President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday requested several Knesset members to calm their rhetoric regarding the Temple Mount. The two on Wednesday discussed the escalating tensions in Jerusalem and agreed to work together on the matter. Over the past two weeks Rivlin has attempted to calm tensions vis-à-vis the Jordanian Kingdom, stressing both in private messages and via his public addresses the importance Israel sees in its ties to Jordan.

The warning followed weeks of confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount and attempts by Israeli right-wingers to pray in the compound.

Even before his conversation with Abdullah, Netanyahu confirmed that the status quo on the Temple Mount would remain unchanged.

"There will be no change in the status quo at the Temple Mount," government spokesman Mark Regev quoted Netanyahu as telling security officials late Wednesday. "Anyone saying otherwise is expressing a personal opinion and not the views of the government."

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