A Jordanian government official condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to lift a ban on Israeli Knesset members from visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, calling the move “irresponsible.”
Muhammad Momani, the state minister for media affairs and the government spokesperson, said that the move was “irresponsible” and would increase tensions at the holy site, which falls under Jordanian custodianship, Jordanian news agency Petra reported.
Netanyahu had placed the ban on Knesset members visiting the site almost two years ago in order to ease tensions amid a deadly wave of political unrest that had erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.
— Ma'an News Agency (@MaanNewsAgency) August 26, 2017
Netanyahu’s lifting of the ban is being considered a test trial, for Israeli forces to assess whether to permanently allow lawmakers to visit the compound.
Momani demanded that Israel stop encouraging Jewish extremists to enter Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, and to reinstate the ban on Israeli Knesset members from entering the holy site.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound’s director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani reacted to Netanyahu’s decision to lift the ban earlier on Thursday, saying that the Israeli prime minister “is trying to show that he controls Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
2 Israeli MP's hv entered al-Aqsa compound after Netanyahu lifted a 2 yr ban prohibiting dem frm visiting the sitehttps://t.co/yfaDdZfiNf
— خاتيجا سليمانKhatija (@KatSuleman) August 30, 2017
While non-Muslim visitation to the compound is permitted at certain times, non-Muslim prayer is strictly prohibited at the site in accordance with a longstanding agreement between Jordan and Israel.
However, right-wing Israelis often enter the holy site and carry out religious worship in an attempt to challenge this status quo.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)