Jordan's King Speaks With Netanyahu, Condemns Temple Mount Attack

According to a Jordanian news agency, King Abdullah II stressed the importance of restoring calm to the holy site and emphasized the need to prevent any escalation

Jordan's King Abdullah II attends a joint news conference following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Elysee Palace, Paris, June 19, 2017.
Gonzalo Fuentes/AP

Jordan's King Abdullah II spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Friday's attack on the Temple Mount, in which two Israeli police officers were killed, the Prime Minister's Office said on Saturday.

>> Read more: After Temple Mount attack, Netanyahu and Abbas work together to prevent a holy war >>

According to a Jordanian news agency, the king stressed to Netanyahu the importance of restoring calm to the Temple Mount and emphasized the need to prevent any escalation following the attack.

Speaking to Netanyahu by phone, the king condemned the attack and said that he opposes violence of any kind, especially in religious places of worship. 

The king asked Netanyahu to reopen the Temple Mount to worshipers and underlined that the attack should not be exploited to undermine stability and harm security.

Two Israeli police officers were killed and another was wounded in the shooting on Friday morning. The three Israeli Arab assailants were killed. Following the attack, Israel closed access to the Temple Mount, causing tensions between Jordan and Israel to escalate

The confrontation between the two countries unfolded on Friday afternoon, when the Palestinians asked the Jordanian government to act toward reopening the holy site. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made the same request of Netanyahu when the latter called him to discuss the aftermath of the attack.

Shortly thereafter, the spokesman for Jordan's government released a statement calling on Israel to immediately reopen the holy site and to avoid measures that change the status quo. Jordan condemns any attack on Muslims' rights to freely worship in sites that are holy to them, the statement said, stressing Amman will continue using every diplomatic, legal and political tools in its disposal to thwart efforts to change the status quo. 

Officials close to Netanyahu responded harshly. "Instead of condemning the terror attack, Jordan chose to blast Israel, which protects the worshipers and maintains the freedom of worship at the site," they said. "Israel won't tolerate harm to the holy sites, where it maintains the status quo. All the sides, including Jordan, should maintain restraint and avoid inflaming the situation." 

On Saturday evening, Netanyahu's bureau said in a statement that the holy site will be gradually reopened to Muslim worshipers as well as visitors starting on Sunday afternoon. Cameras and metal detectors are to be installed around the Mount, and additional security measures are expected.