TEL AVIV – The visit of more than 1,400 Jews to the Temple Mount on Sunday to mark the Tisha B’Av fast mourning the destruction of the two Temples prompted outrage from Jordan and the Palestinians, who described the event as “settlers storming” the holy site.
Jordan “condemned in the strongest terms the ongoing Israeli violations and provocations against al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif compound, especially the provocative incursions of extremists and settlers that took place today into the courtyards of the holy site,” the state-run news service Petra quoted government spokesman Jumana Ghneimat as saying.
The visit, he said, “conducted under protection of the Israeli police, violates the sanctity of this holy place, provokes sentiments of worshipers and Muslims all over the world, and constitutes a violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international and international humanitarian laws.”
The mount, the holiest site in Judaism, marks the spot where both the First and the Second Jewish Temple stood. Today the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock Shrine are located there and the site is administered by the Jordanian Waqf.
Ghneimat, who serves as the minister of state for media affairs, said the Jordanian Embassy in Ramat Gan wrote a letter to the Israeli Foreign Ministry condemning “those violations” and calling for an “immediate halt.”
Like Jordan, the Palestinian Authority similarly referred to the visit as a “storming” of the holy site by Jews.
PA spokesman Yousef Mahmoud said in a statement that Sunday was “a black day in the history of the city of Jerusalem, and in the history of Palestine and the history of the Arabs and Muslims.”
Jews visiting the Temple Mount is “a flagrant challenge to the Arab and Islamic nations and a violation of international laws.”
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“Over a thousand of Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque compound under armed security by the Israeli police on Sunday morning,” the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.
The report cited sources as saying that “many of the Israeli settlers performed Jewish religious rituals in the compound, while Israeli police removed several extremist Israeli settlers from the premises.”
Police arrested 10 people around the site, mostly for violating the rule prohibiting non-Muslim prayer by uttering Jewish verses or prostration.
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Yehudah Glick, a Likud MK and Temple Mount activist, expressed his hope that many “thousands of Jews” visit the site in future years.
“Until a few years ago the Temple Mount was closed on Tisha B’Av for non-Muslims,” he said.