Jordan's King: 'We Will Fight Extremist Israelis at Al-Aqsa'

King Abdullah vows to maintain status quo at the holy compound, criticizes Israeli policies in Jerusalem.

King Abdullah II of Jordan on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., February 3, 2015.
Allison Shelley, AFP

Jordan will continue to serve as custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem and will fight to maintain the status quo at the Al-Aqsa mosque, King Abdullah II told the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour Monday.

By virtue of his country’s traditional role as custodian of places holy to Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem, the monarch vowed that, “Jordan will fight Israeli aggression, which is manifested by the incursion of extremist Israelis into the mosque compound,” he said.

The king also noted what he called a continuing attempt by Israel to change the demographic and historical situation in the holy city, adding that Jordan is making every effort to deal with such efforts.

“The Al-Aqsa mosque compound will not endure any partition or partnership,” the king added. “My responsibility over the holy places is a top priority in meetings in the international arena. We are using all the means at our disposal to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque.”

On Sunday, Tisha B’Av, the Jewish fast day marking the destruction in antiquity of the First and Second Temples, seven Jews were detained by Israeli police for breaking visitation rules at the Temple Mount compound, where Al-Aqsa is located, and Palestinian youths clashed with security forces. (The clashes followed several weeks in which the Waqf – the Muslim religious trust responsible for the sites on the Mount – have complained about police arrests of its employees following attempts to do renovation work there.)

As to the Palestinian issue, King Abdullah said the stalemate in the peace process and what he termed the distancing of a two-state solution to the conflict is increasing tensions and extremism in the region.

On the subject of the civil war in Syria, the monarch asserted that the only solution would be a comprehensive agreement approved by all of Syria's factions, which would ensure the country’s political integrity and prepare it for a process of reform and democratization.

King Abdullah also commented extensively in the interview Monday about the elections for the Jordanian parliament, slated for about a month from now. He noted that based on the new election law, for the first time, some 4.4 million people are entitled to cast their ballots.