Jordan 'Playing a Double Game' on Temple Mount Clashes, Israeli Official Says

Officials were also caught off guard by the United Arab Emirates' criticism of Israel after violent clashes broke out between police and Palestinians on Jerusalem's Temple Mount

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Palestinians clash with Israeli forces at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday.
Palestinians clash with Israeli forces at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday.Credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters

An Israeli source accused Jordan on Wednesday of playing a “double game” with regard to the statements senior Jordanian officials have made against Israel after violent clashes between police and Palestinians erupted on Jerusalem's Temple Mount earlier this week.

“They’re playing a double game – speaking out against us with intolerable and unacceptable harshness, then explaining behind closed doors that this is their way of calming demands from the street to sever ties with us,” the source said.

Over the past few days, dozens of Jordanian members of parliament have signed onto a demand to cancel the peace agreement with Israel due to the tensions in Jerusalem, he noted.

“The line was crossed in the Jordanian prime minister’s speech to parliament,” he continued, referring to Bisher Al Khasawneh’s public support for Palestinians throwing stones at Israelis on the Temple Mount. “This wasn’t a statement we can tolerate from a friendly country. These messages were sent to them with a forcefulness they’re not used to.”

But unexpected blowback over clashes on the Temple Mount wasn't limited to Amman. According to the diplomatic source, officials were caught off guard by the United Arab Emirates' criticism of Israel.

“The Emirati statement was a bad surprise,” he admitted, but added, “I don’t see any damage to the relationship between the countries. What happened in the conversation [between the UAE’s minister of state for regional cooperation and Israeli Ambassador Amir Hayek] and what was in the statement released afterward bore no relationship to each other.”

Regarding Russia’s criticism of Israel over the Palestinian issue, the official said: “Russia isn’t happy with our position on the Ukrainian issue, so that also comes out in the Palestinian issue. Ultimately, they’re talking to us about Ukraine via Ramallah. We didn’t think they would be happy with our position on Ukraine.”

Nevertheless, he added, “as of now – and that could change any day – Israel is conducting itself in a properly balanced way. It’s not ideal. But there’s no realistic solution to complex problems.”

He also brushed aside Russia's demand that Israel transfer ownership of Jerusalem's Church of St. Alexander Nevsky as a complicated legal process that began under the previous government.

“The decision wasn’t solid enough from a legal standpoint,” he added. “These things have to be done cautiously and responsibly. Even today, efforts are being made to advance a solution. We’re in talks with the Russian government, and they also understand that we’re a state ruled by law." 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that criticism of Israel in the Arab world stemmed from Palestinian lies about the country.

Speaking with Kan Bet public radio, Bennett said that “We see that the Palestinians, mainly Hamas, are waging a campaign of incitement against the State of Israel [saying] that we are allegedly preventing prayer, causing damage, it’s baseless.

"I call on our neighboring countries to show more leadership and willpower in the face of these lies,” Bennett said.

In neighboring Jordan, a U.S. delegation met with Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi Wednesday night over the escalating situation in Jerusalem, according to a Jordanian Foreign Ministry statement. 

The American delegation is expected to make its way to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, according to low-ranking American sources, as well as Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid 

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